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The Novels 



The Text based on Collation of the 
Early Editions 



With Notes Indexes and Illustrations 
From Contemporary Sources 





London Edinburgh Glasgow Copenhagen 

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Publisher to the University 

Printed in England 


{ vi ) 



Preface . . . . 

Introductory Note 


Notes . . 

Appendixes : Miss Austen's English 
Reading and Writing 
The Early Editions . 

Index of Characters, &c. 











Introductory Note 



Appendixes : Chronology of Pride and Prejudice 

Pride and Prejudice and Cecilia 

Modes of Address . 
Index of Characters, &c 413 


Introductory Note ...... xi 

MANSFIELD PARK, 1814 .... 1 

Lovers' Vows, 1798 474 

Notes 539 

Appendixes : Chronology of Mansfield Park , . 553 

Improvements .... 556 

Carriages and Travel . . . 560 

Index of Characters, &c 565 





Introductory Note 

EMMA, 1816 . . . 

Notes ..... 

Appendixes : Chronology of Emma 

The Manners of the Age 

The Punctuation of the Novels 

Index of Characters, &c. 




Introductory Note ...... xi 

Biographical Notice of the Author, by Henry Austen 3 

NORTHANGER ABBEY, 1818 .... 11 


The Cancelled Chapter of Persuasion . . . 253 

Notes 265 

Appendixes : Chronology of Northanger Abbey and 

Persuasion . . . 275, 280 

The Topography of Bath . . 283 

The Mysteries of Udolpho . . 284 

Indexes of Characters, &c. . . . . . 291 

General Indexes : 

1. Of Literary Allusions .... 295 

2. Of Real Persons 307 

3. Of Real Places 308 

■/ { viii ) 



From Heideloff' s Gallery of Fashion, November 1797. 


Title-page of the First Edition. Page xiii 

Oxford Street from Stratford Place. From a print in 
the Grace Collection (British Museum). Face page 1 

Portman Square. From an aquatint after Gingal. 
(British Museum). Face page 137 

Full Dress of a Gentleman. From Ackermann's Repository 
of Arts, April 1810. Face page 255 

St. James's Street. From a print by Malton, 1810 
(British Museum). Face page 380 

Elegant Chariot. From Felton's Treatise on Carriages, 
1801. Face page SS6 

An Entire New Plan of the Cities of London and West- 
minster, 1819 (British Museum). At end 


Frontispiece to Thomas Wilson's Analysis of Country 

Dancing, 1811. Frontispiece 

Morning Dress. Invented by Mrs. Bell. From La Belle 

Assemblee, July 1815. Face page 1 

A Vicarage House. From Ackermann's Repository of 

^7^5, October 1816. Face page ISl 

Matlock. From Gilpin's Cumberland and Westmoreland 

(third edition, 1792). Face page 243 

Dove-dale. From the same. Face page 245 

The Encampment at Brighton. From a mezzotint by 

J. Murphy after Wheatley (British Museum). 

Face page 390 
Parisian Head Dresses. From Ackermann's Repository of 

Arts, January 1817. Face page 398 

A Travelling Coach. From Felton's Carriages, 1801. 

Face page 412 


South Front of Harleston Park, Northamptonshire, 
R, Andrews, Esqr. From Humphrey Repton's 
Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape 
Gardening, 1816. Frontispiece 

Title-page of the First Edition. Page xiii 

Evening Dress. From Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 
June 1817. Face page 1 

Midshipman ; Lieutenant ; Captain ; Admiral. From 
prints by Merks after Rowlandson (in the Collection 
of Mr. Dyson Perrins). Face pages 173, 175 

View from the Saluting Platform, Portsmouth. From 
a print by E. Finden after E. W. Cooke. Face page 309 

Frontispiece to Lovers^ Vows. From vol. xxiii of The 
British Theatre . . . with Biographical and Critical 
Remarks by Mrs. Inchbald, 1808. Face page 4^75 

Mrs. H. Johnston, the Amelia of Lovers'' Vows. From 
a print by Ridley after Smith, 1805. Face page 481 

Mrs. Inchbald as Lady Jane Gray. From a print by 
Audinet after De Wilde, 1791. Face page 538 


Ball Dress. From Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 

October 1816. Frontispiece 

Furniture for an Artist's, or Amateur's Apartment. From 

Ackermann's Repository of Arts, July 1815. 

Face page 1 
' Maternal Recreation '. From an anonymous print, 1816 

(lent by Messrs. Broadwood & Sons). 

Face pages 153, 155 
Box Hill. From a drawing by H. Edridge (A.R.A., 1769- 

1821) in the collection of Mr. Thomas Girtin. 

Face page 314 
A Mona Marble Chimney Piece. From Ackermann's 

Repository of Arts, October 1816. Face page 484 

Title-page of The Vase of Fancy, 1806. Face page 487 

Title-page and pages 12, 192, of Thomas Wilson's Analysis 

of Country Dancing, 1811. Pages 503-5 

Title-page, frontispiece, and page 143 of Thomas Wilson's 

Companion to the Ball Rooin, 1816. Pages 511, 512 
Library Window Curtain. From Ackermann's Repository 

o/-4r/5, January 1815. Face page 522 



The Pump Room, &c. From Bath, Illustrated by a Series 
of Views, from the Drawings of John Claude Nattes, 
1806. Frontispiece 

Comforts of Bath. From prints after Rowlandson, 1798, 
in the Collection of Mr. Dyson Perrins. 

Face pages 11, 13 

Curricle Gig. From Felton's Carriages, 1801. 

Face page 127 

The Lower Rooms ; the Upper Rooms. From prints by 
Storer in Egan's Walks through Bath, 1819. 

Face page 252 

Frontispiece to Mrs. Parsons' The Mysterious Warning, 
1796. Page 286 

Title-page of Mrs. Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, 
1794. Page 287 


Autumnal Walking Dress, Invented by Mrs. Bell. From 
La Belle Assemblee, 1815. 

Frontispiece (to Volume Hi) 
Milsom Street, &c. From Nattes's Bath, 1806. 

Face page 3 

Lyme Regis. From a pair of prints in the Cruikshank 

Collection (British Museum). Face page 119 

A Landaulet built by Mr. Birch. From Ackermami's 

Repository of Arts, March 1818. Face page 252 

Interior of the Concert Room. From Nattes's Bath, 1806. 

Face page 264 

Pulteney Street, terminating in Laura Place, as seen 
through a gateway going out of Sydney Gardens. 
From Nattes's Bath, 1806. Face page 282 

A New and Correct Plan of the City of Bath, 1801. 

At end 

( xi ) 



A MEMORANDUM made by Cassandra Austen tells us 
that First Impressions was written between October 1796 
and August 1797 — after Elinor and Marianne, but before 
Sense and Sensihility so named. On 1 November 1797 
Mr. George Austen wrote to Cadell offering for publica- 
tion, at the author's expense or otherwise, ' a manuscript 
novel, comprising 3 volumes, about the length of Miss 
Burney's Evelina '.^ This proposal was dechned by return 
of post, and we hear no more of First Impressions until 
Pride and Prejudice is on the eve of publication, and 
Mansfield Park already far advanced.^ 

Pride and Prejudice, ' a Novel, by a Lady, Author of 
Sense and Sensihility ', seems to have been first announced 
in the Morning Chronicle for 28 Jan. 1813. Jane received 
her first copy on 27 January. The price was I85. in 
boards, and the author sold the copyright, apparently for 
£110.3 ^e ^Q not know how many copies were printed ; 
but a second edition was wanted in the same year. There 
is no external evidence that the author had any part in 
this second edition ; and it contains no changes that 

* Life, 96-98. Pride and Prejudice as we have it is not much more 
than three-quarters of the length of Evelina. But it would be rash 
to build anything on this. .Jane Austen herself imagined P. P. to 
be * rather shorter ' than S. S. ; it is actually a few pages longer 
{Letters 29 Jan. 1813). 

" Letters Jan. 1813 ; there are none of 1812. 

* Life, 272. Perhaps a hundred guineas. 


can be attributed to revision. A few obvious misprints 
are corrected ; but the error on p. 343, which she remarked 
in the first edition,^ remained. 

A third edition was pubhshed by Egerton in 1817. It 
is in two volumes, and the chapters are re-numbered. 
Thus not only was the author's division of the volumes 
obliterated — an injury suffered by most popular novelists 
— but a new and misleading division was introduced, 
which persisted for nearly a century. 

The third edition was set up from the second ; like the 
secojid, it shows no sign of revision by the author ; unlike 
the second, it introduces a large number of slight verbal 
changes. The third edition was the parent of Bentley's 
editions, which were current in the nineteenth century, 
and have been followed in some later reprints. Its 
readings have therefore a certain importance, although 
the unique authority of the first edition is critically indis- 
putable ; it seemed worth while therefore to record, once 
for all, such readings of the third edition as have any 
interest in themselves or can with any sort of plausibility 
be supposed due to the author. For the most part they 
are the result of mere accident ; some are mistaken 
improvements or modernizations. Examples of the latter 
class will be found at pages 94 (reports for report), 166 
(broken for broke), 2^1 (What is all settled? for That is all 
settled ;), 310 (imprudence for impudence), 331 (certainly 
true for certain true), 357 (who is the son for is the son). 

The gradual deterioration of the text is well shown by 
a passage on p. 280. Here the first edition has : 

dwelling on the postscript of the last, with trembling 
energy. — Though Lydia had never been a favourite with 
them, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply 

1 LetUrs 4 Feb. 1813. 


The second : 

dwelling on the postscript of the last, with trembling 

energy. — Though Lydia had never been a favourite with 

them. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply 


The third : 

dwelling on the postscript of the last, with trembling 

energy, though Lydia had never been a favourite with 

them. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply 


The printer of the third edition found the clause ' Though 
. . . with them ' unattached, and attached it to the wrong 
sentence (at the same time improving ' affected ' to 
' afflicted '). The same absurdity is found in Bentley's 
editions of 1833 and 1882. 

Apart from obvious or minor corrections I have intro- 
duced into the text two conjectural emendations — one of 
my own on page 6, and one of the late Henry Jackson 
on page 202. Conjectures are offered on pages 351, 374. 
' For considerations which may affect our view of the 
ultimate date of composition of Pride and Prejudice, see 
the Appendixes on Dates and on the relation of the title 
to Cecilia, If the conclusions of the former are accepted, 
we must infer that the book as we know it was sub- 
stantially rewritten in 1812; for it is certain that so 
intricate a chronological scheme cannot have been patched 
on to an existing work without extensive revision. All 
that can be known with absolute certainty is a process 
of condensation ; ' I have lop't and crop't so successfully, 
that I imagine it must be rather shorter than Sense and 
Sensibility altogether '.^ What it was that Miss Austen 
* lop't and crop't ' we cannot know. It may have been 
First Impressions; it may equally have been a later 

^ Letters 29 Jan. 1813. 

In modem editions the chapters of Vol. II are 
numbered 24r-12, and those of Vol. Ill, 43-61. 

^ 3IOEK1NG DBES8. ^ / y 







VOL. I. 






It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man 
in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. 

However little known the feelings or views of such a 
man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this 
truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding 
families, that he is considered as the rightful property of 
some one or other of their daughters. 

" My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, 
" have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last ? " 

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not. 

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just 
been here, and she told me all about it." 

Mr. Bennet made no answer. 

" Do not you want to know who has taken it ? " cried 
his wife impatiently. 

" You want to tell me, and I have no objection to 
hearing it." 

This was invitation enough. 

" Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that 
Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from 
the north of England ; that he came down on Monday 
in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much 
delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immedi- 
ately ; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, 
and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end 
of next week." 

" What is his name ? " 

" Bingley." 

" Is he married or single ? " 

" Oh ! single, my dear, to be sure ! A single man of 

B 2 large 

( 4 ) 

large fortune ; four or five thousand a year. What a fine 
thing for our girls ! " 

" How so ? how can it affect them ? " 

" My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, " how can you 
be so tiresome ! You must know that I am thinking of his 
marrying one of them." 

" Is that his design in settling here ? " 

" Design ! nonsense, how can you talk so ! But it is 
very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and 
therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes." 

" I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, 
or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will 
be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, 
Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party." 

" My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my 
share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be any thing extra- 
ordinary now. When a woman has five grown up daughters, 
she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty." 

" in such cases, a woman has not often much beauty 
to think of." 

" But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley 
when he comes into the neighbourhood." 

" It is more than I engage for, I assure you." 

" But consider your daughters. Only think what an 
establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William 
and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that 
account, for in general you know they visit no new comers. 
Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to 
visit him, if you do not." 

" You are over scrupulous surely. I dare say Mr. 
Bingley will be very glad to see you ; and I will send 
a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent 
to his marrying which ever he chuses of the girls ; though 
I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy." 

" I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not 
a bit better than the others ; and I am sure she is not half 
so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. 
But you are always giving her the preference." 



4 ( 5 ) 

" They have none of them much to recommend them," 
replied he ; " they are all silly and ignorant like other 
girls ; but Lizzy has something more* of quickness 
than her sisters.'* 

" Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children 
in such a way ? You take delight in vexing me. You 
have no compassion on my poor nerves." 

" You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for 
your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you 
mention them with consideration these twenty years at 

" Ah ! you do not know what I suffer." 

" But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many 
young men of four thousand a year come into the neigh- 

" It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come 
since you will not visit them." 

" Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, 
I will visit them all." 

MTi^Bcnnet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic 
humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three 
and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife 
understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to 
develope. She was a woman o f mean under standJIlg? little 
information, and uncertain temper. WEen she was dis- 
contented she fancied hel'i>elf Iiervotis. The business of her 
life was to get her daughters married ; its solace was 
visiting and news. 


( 6 ) 


Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who 
waited on Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to visit 
him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he 
should not go ; and till the evening after the visit was paid, 
she had no knowledge of it. It was then disclosed in the 
following manner. Observing his second daughter em- 
ployed in trimming a hat, he suddenly addressed her with, 

" I hope Mr. Bingley will like' it Lizzy." 

" We are not in a way to know what Mr. Bingley likes," 
said her mother resentfully, " since we are not to visit." 

" But you forget, mama," said Elizabeth, " that we 
shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long has 
promised to introduce him." 

" I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. 
She has two neices of her own. She is a selfish, hypocritical 
woman, and I have no opinion of her." 

" No more have I," said Mr. Bennet ; " and I am glad 
to find that you do not depend on her serving you." 

Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply ; but 
unable to contain herself, began scolding one of her 

"Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven's sake ! 
Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them 
to pieces." 

" Kitty has no discretion in her coughs," said her 
father ; " she times them ill." 

" I do not cough for my own amusement," replied 
Kitty fretfully. 

" When is your next ball to be, Lizzy ? " 

" To-morrow fortnight." 

" Aye, so it is," cried her mother, " and Mrs. Long 
does not come back till the day before ; so, it will be 
impossible for her to introduce him, for she will not know 
him herself." 


( T ) 

" Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your 
friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to her.'' 

" Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am 
not acquainted with him myself 5 how can you be so 
teazing ? " 

" I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquain- 
tance is certainly very little. One cannot know what 
a man really is by the end of a fortnight. But if we do 
not venture, somebody else will ; and after all, Mrs. Long 
and her neices must stand their chance ; and therefore, 
as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the 
office, I will take it on myself." 

The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, 
" Nonsense, nonsense ! " 

" What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclam- 
ation ? " cried he. " Do you consider the forms of intro- 
duction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense ? 
I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, 
Mary ? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, 
and read great books, and make extracts." 

Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew 
not how. 

" W^hile Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, 
" let us return to Mr. Bingley." 

" I am sick of Mr. Bingley," cried his wife. 

" I am sorry to hear that ; but why did not you tell 
me so before ? If I had known as much this morning, 
I certainly would not have called on him. It is very 
unlucky ; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot 
escape the acquaintance now." 

The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished ; 
that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest ; though 
when the first tumult of joy was over, she began to declare 
that it was what she had expected all the while. 

" How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet ! But 
I knew I should persuade you at last. I was sure you 
loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. 
Well, how pleased I am ! and it is such a good joke, too, 


( 8 ) 

that you should have gone this morning, and never said 
a word about it till now." 

" Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you chuse," 
said Mr. Bennet ; and, as he spoke, he left the room, 
fatigued with the raptures of his wife. 

" What an excellent father you have, girls," said she, 
when the door was shut. " I do not know how you will 
ever make him amends for his kindness ; or me either, 
for that matter. At our time of life, it is not so pleasant 
I can tell you, to be making new acquaintance every day ; 
but for your sakes, we would do any thing. Lydia, my 
love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley 
will dance with you at the next ball." 

" Oh ! ' said Lydia stoutly, " I am not afraid ; for 
though I am the youngest, I 'm the tallest." 

The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how 
soon he would return Mr. Bennet's visit, and determining 
when they should ask him to dinner. 


( 9 ) 


Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance 
of her five daughters, could ask on the subject was suffi- 
cient to draw from her husband any satisfactory descrip- 
tion of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways ; 
with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and 
distant surmises ; but he eluded the skill of them all ; 
and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand 
intelligence of their neighbour Lady Lucas. Her report 
was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted 
with him. He was^gyifeg, jroung, wonderfully -handsome, 
extremdy^agreealWl^and^ CT 

be~at the next assernbly'lvitir"^ lar g e p ar iy rn^otEing 
could be more delightful ! To be fond of dancing was- 
a certain step towards falling in love ; and very Jively 
hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained. 

" If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled 
at Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, " and 
all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing 
to wish for." 

In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, 
and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He 
had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of the 
young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much ; but 
he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more 
fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertaining from 
an upper window, that he wore a blue coat and rode a black 

An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched ; 
and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were 
to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived 
which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in 
town the following day, and consequently unable to accept 
the honour of their invitation, &c. Mrs. Bennet was 


( 10 ) 

quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what business 
he could have in town so soon after his arrival in Hertford- 
shire ; and she began to fear that he might be always 
flying about from one place to another, and never settled 
at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her 
fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to 
London only to get a large party for the ball ; and a report 
soon followed that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies 
and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls 
grieved over such a number of ladies ; but were comforted 
the day before the ball by hearing, that instead of twelve, 
he had brought only six with him from London, his five 
sisters and a cousin. And when the party entered the 
assembly room, it consisted of only five altogether; 
Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, 
and another young man. 

Mr. Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike ; he 
had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. 
His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion. 
His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentle- 
man ; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention 
of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, 
noble mien ; and the report which was in general circula- 
tion within five minutes after his entrance, of his having 
ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to 
be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much 
handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with 
great admiration for about half the evening, till his 
manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his 
popularity ; for he was discovered to be proud, to be 
above his company, and above being pleased ; and not 
all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from 
having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and 
being unworthy to be compared with his friend. 

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with 
all the principal people in the room ; he was lively and 
unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball 
closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Nether- 

( 11 ) 

field. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. 
What a contrast between him and his friend ! Mr. Darcy 
danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss 
Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and 
spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, 
speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His charac- 
ter was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable 
mian in the world, and every body hoped that he would 
never come there again. Amongst the most violent 
against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general 
behaviour, was sharpened into particular resentment, by 
his having slighted one of her daughters. 

Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of 
gentlemen, to sit down for two dances ; and during part 
of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough 
for her to overhear a conversation between him and 
Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, 
to press his friend to join it. 

" Come, Darcy," said he, " I must have you dance. 
I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid 
manner. You had much better dance." 

" I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, 
unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At 
such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. 
Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman 
in the room, whom it would not be a punishment to me 
to stand up with." 

" I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Bingley, 
" for a kingdom ! Upon my honour, I never met with 
so many pleasant girls in my life, as I have this evening ; 
and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty." 

" You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the 
room," said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet. 

" Oh ! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld ! 
But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind 
you, who is very pretty, and I dare say, very agreeable. 
Do let me ask my partner to introduce you." 

" Which do you mean ? " and turning round, he looked 


( 12 ) 

for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he with- 
drew his own and coldly said, "She is tolerable; but not 
handsome enough to tempt me ; and I am in no humour 
at present to give consequence to young ladies who are 
slighted by other men. You had better return to your 
partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your 
time with me." 

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off ; 
and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings 
towards him. She told the story however with great 
spirit among her friends ; for she had a lively, playful 
disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous. 

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the 
whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter 
much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had 
danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished 
by his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this, as 
her mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth 
felt Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned 
to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the 
neighbourhood ; and Catherine and Lydia had been 
fortunate enough to be never without partners, which 
was all that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. 
They returned therefore in good spirits to Longbourn, the 
village where they lived, and of which they were the 
principal inhabitants. They found Mr. Bennet still up. 
With a book he was regardless of time ; and on the present 
occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the event 
of an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. 
He had rather hoped that all his wife's views on the 
stranger would be disappointed ; but he soon found that 
he had a very different story to hear. 

" Oh ! my dear Mr. Bennet," as she entered the room, 
" we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent 
ball. I wish you had been there. Jane was so admired, 
nothing could be like it. Every body said how well she 
looked ; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, 
and danced with her twice. Only think of that my dear ; 



( 13 ) 

he actually danced with her twice ; and she was the only 
creature in the room that he asked a second time. First 
of all, he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to see him 
stand up with her ; but, however, he did not admire her 
at all : indeed, nobody can, you know ; and he seemed 
quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. 
So, he enquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked 
her for the two next. Then, the two third he danced with 
Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the 
two fifth with Jane again, and the two sixth with Lizzy, 
and the Boulanger " 

"If he had had any compassion for me," cried her 
husband impatiently, " he would not have danced half 
so much ! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. 
Oh ! that he had sprained his ancle in the first dance \ " 

" Oh ! my dear," continued Mrs. Bennet, " I am quite 
delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome ! and 
his sisters are charming women. I never in my life saw 
any thing more elegant than their dresses. I dare say the 
lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown " 

Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested 
against any description of finery. She was therefore 
obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, 
with much bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the 
shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy. 

" But I can assure you," she added, " that Lizzy does 
not lose much by not suiting his fancy ; for he is a most 
disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So 
high and so conceited that there was no enduring him ! 
He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself 
so very great ! Not handsome enough to dance with ! 
I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him 
one of your set downs. I quite detest the man." 


( 14 ) 


When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who 
had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, 
expressed to her sister how very much she admired him. 

" He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, 
" sensible, good humoured, lively ; and I never saw such 
happy manners ! — so much ease, with such perfect good 
breeding ! " 

" He is also handsome," replied Elizabeth, " which 
a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. 
His character is thereby^ complete." 

" I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance 
a second time. I did not expect such a compliment." 

" Did not you ? / did for you. But that is one great 
difference between us. Compliments always take you by 
surprise, and me never. What could be more natural than 
his asking you again ? He could not help seeing that you 
were about five times as pretty as every other woman in 
the room. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, 
he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to 
like him. You have liked many a stupider person." 

" Dear Lizzy ! " 

" Oh ! you are a great deal too apt you know, to like 
people in general. You never see a fault in any body. 
All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never 
heard you speak ill of a human being in my life." 

" I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one ; 
but I always speak what I think." 

" I know you do ; and it isthat which makes the wonder. 
With your good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies 
and nonsense of others ! Affectation of candour is common 
enough ; — one meets it every where. But to be cafidid 
without ostentation or design — to take the good of every 
body's character and make it still better, and say nothing 

I of 

( 15 ) 

of the bad — belongs to you alone. And so, you like this 
man's sisters too, do you ? Their manners are not equal 
to his." 

" Certainly not ; at first. But they are very pleasing 
women when you converse with them. Miss Bingley 
is to live with her brother and keep his house ; and I am 
much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming 
neighbour in her." 

jEHzabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced; 
tneir behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated 
to please in general ; and with more quickness of obser- 
vation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and 
with a judgment too unassailed by any attentiop to herself 
she was very little disposed to approve theuLj They were 
in fact very fine ladies ; not deficient in 'good humour 
when they were pleased, nor in the power of being agree- 
able where they chose it ; but proud and conceited. They 
were rather handsome, had been educated In one of the 
first private seminaries in town, had a fdftune of twenty 
thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than 
they ought, and of associating with people of rank ; and 
were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of 
themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respect- 
able family in the north of England ; a circumstance more 
deeply impressed on their memories than that their 
brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by 

Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly 
an hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had 
intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it. — 
Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made 
choice of his county ; but as he was now provided with 
a good house and the liberty of a manor, it was doubt- 
ful to many of those who best knew the easiness of his 
temper, whether he might not spend the remainder of his 
days at Netherfield, and leave the next generation to 

His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate 


( 16 ) 

of his own ; but though he was now established only as 
a tenant. Miss Bingley was by no means unwilling to 
preside at his table, nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had married 
a man of more fashion than fortune, less disposed to 
consider his house as her home when it suited her. Mr. 
Bingley had not been of age two years, when he was 
tempted by an accidental recommendation to look at 
Netherfield House. He did look at it and into it for half 
an hour, was pleased with the situation and the principal 
rooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, 
and took it immediately. 

Between him and Darcy there was a very steady 
friendship, in spite of a great opposition of character. — 
Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness, openness, 
ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer 
a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he 
never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's 
regard Bingley had the firmest reliance, and of his judg- 
ment the highest opinion. In understanding Darcy was 
the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient, but 
Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, 
reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well 
bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had 
greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked 
wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving 

The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton 
assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had 
never met with pleasanter people or prettier girls in his 
life ; every body had been most kind and attentive to 
him, there had been no formality, no stiffness, he had 
soon felt acquainted with all the room ; and as to Miss 
Bennet, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful. 
Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people 
in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none 
of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none 
received either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet he 
acknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much. 


( n ) 

Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so — but still 
they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to 
be a sweet girl, and one whom they should not object to 
know more of. Miss Bennet was therefore established as 
a sweet girl, and their brother felt authorised by such 
commendation to think of hier as he chose. 

^ ^' c CHAP- 


( 18 ) 


Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with 
whom the Bennets were particularly intimate. Sir William 
Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton, where he had 
made a tolerable fortune and risen to the honour of knight- 
hood by an address to the King, during his mayoralty. The 
distinction had perhaps been felt too strongly. It had given 
him a disgust to his business and to his residence in a small 
market town ; and quitting them both, he had removed 
with his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, 
denominated from that period Lucas Lodge, where he 
could think with pleasure of his own importance, and 
unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in being 
civil to all the world. For though elated by his rank, 
it did not render him supercilious ; on the contrary, he 
was all attention to every body. By nature inoffensive, 
friendly and obliging, his presentation at St. James's had 
made him courteous. 

Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, not too 
clever to be a valuable neighbour to Mrs. Bennet. — They 
had several children. The eldest of them, a sensible, 
intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven, was Eliza- 
beth's intimate friend. 

That the Miss Lucases and the Miss Bennets should 
meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary ; and 
the morning after the assembly brought the former to 
Longbourn to hear and to communicate. 

" You began the evening well, Charlotte," said Mrs. 
Bennet with civil self-command to Miss Lucas. " You 
were Mr. Bingley's first choice." 

" Yes ; — ^but he seemed to hke his second better." 

" Oh ! — ^you mean Jane, I suppose — because he danced 
with her twice. To be sure that did seem as if he admired 
her — indeed I rather believe he did — I heard something 


( 19 ) 

about it — ^but I hardly know what — something about 
Mr. Robinson." 

" Perhaps you mean what I overheard between him 
and Mr. Robinson ; did not I mention it to you ? Mr. 
Robinson's asking him how he Hked our Meryton assem- 
bhes, and whether he did not think there were a great 
many pretty women in the" room, and which he thought 
the prettiest ? and his answering immediately to the last 
question — Oh ! the eldest Miss Bennet beyond a doubt, , 
there cannot be two opinions on that point." 

" Upon my word ! — Well, that was very decided indeed 

— that does seem as if but however, it may all come 

to nothing you know." 

" My overhearings were more to the purpose than yours, 
Eliza," said Charlotte. " Mr. Darcy is not so well worth 
listening to as his friend, is he ? — Poor Eliza ! — to be only 
just tolerable,'^ 

" I beg you would not put it into Lizzy's head to 
be vexed by his ill-treatment ; for he is such a disagree- 
able man that it would be quite a misfortune to be 
liked by him. Mrs. Long told me last night that he 
sat close to her for half an hour without once opening his 

" Are you quite sure. Ma'am ? — is not there a little 
mistake ? " said Jane. — " I certainly saw Mr. Darcy 
speaking to her." 

" Aye — because she asked him at last how he liked 
Netherfield, and he could not help answering her ; — but 
she said he seemed very angry at being spoke to." 

" Miss Bingley told me," said Jane, " that he never 
speaks much unless among his intimate acquaintance. 
With them he is remarkably agreeable." 

" I do not believe a word of it, my dear. If he had been 
so very agreeable he would have talked to Mrs. Long. 
But I can guess how it was ; every body says that he is 
ate up with pride, and I dare say he had heard somehow 
that Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage, and had come 
to the ball in a hack chaise." 

C 2 "I 


( 20 ) 

" I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long," said 
Miss Lucas, " but I wish he had danced with EHza." 

'* Another time, Lizzy," said her mother, " I would not 
dance with him, if I were you." 

" I believe, Ma'am, I may safely promise you never to 
dance with him." 

" His pride," said Miss Lucas, " does not offend me so 
much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. 
One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with 
family, fortune, every thing in his favour, should think 
highly of himself. If I may so express^ it, he has a right 
to be proud." 

" That is very true," replied Elizabeth, " and I could 
easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine,^^ 

" Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the 
solidity of her reflections, " is a very common failing I 
believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced 
that it is very common indeed, that human nature is 
particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of 
us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on 
the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. 
Vanity and pride are different things, though the words 
are often used synonimously. A person may be proud 
without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion 
of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think 
of us." 

'^ If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy," cried a young Lucas 
who came with his sisters, " I should not care how proud 
I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink 
a bottle of wine every day." 

" Then you would drink a great deal more than you 
ought," said Mrs. Bennet ; " and if I were to see you at 
it I should take away your bottle directly." 

The boy protested that she should not ; she continued 
to declare that she would, and the argument ended only 
with the visit. 



The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of 
Netherfield. The visit was" returned in due form. Miss 
Bennet's pleasing manners grew on the good will of Mrs. 
Hurst and Miss Bingley ; and though the mother was 
found to be intolerable and the younger sisters not worth 
speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted with ihem^ 
was expressed towards the two eldest. By Jane this 
attention was received with the greatest pleasure ; but 
Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in their treatment of 
every body, hardly excepting even her sister, and could 
not like them ; though their kindness to Jane, such as it 
was, had a value as arising in all probability from the 
influence of their brother's admiration. It was generally 
evident whenever they met, that he did admire her ; and 
to her it was equally evident that Jane was yielding to the 
preference which she had begun to entertain for him from 
the first, and was in a way to be very much in love ; but 
she. considered with pleasure that it was not likely to be 
discovered by the world in general, since Jane united with 
great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and a 
uniform cheerfulness of manner, which would guard her 
from the suspicions of the impertinent. She mentioned 
this to her friend Miss Lucas. 

" It may perhaps be pleasant," replied Charlotte, *' to 
be able to impose on the public in such a case ; but it is 
sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If 
a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from 
the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing 
him ; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe 
the world equally in the dark. There is so much of grati- 
tude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not 
safe to leave any to itself. We can all hegin freely — a slight 
preference is natural enough ; but there are very few of 


( 22 ) 

us who have heart enough to be really in love without 
encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had 
better shew more affection than she feels. Bingley likes 
your sister undoubtedly ; but he may never do more than 
like her, if she does not help him on." 

" But she does help him on, as much as her nature will 
allow. If / can perceive her regard for him, he must be 
a simpleton indeed not to discover it too." 

" Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's 
disposition as you do." 

" But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not 
endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out." 

" Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But 
though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never 
for many hours together ; and as they always see each 
other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every 
moment should be employed in conversing together. 
Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour 
in which she can command his attention. When she is 
secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as 
much as she chuses." 

" Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, " where 
nothing is in question but the desire of being well married ; 
and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any 
husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But these are 
not Jane's feelings ; she is not acting by design. As yet, 
she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own 
regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him only 
a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at Meryton ; 
she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since 
dined in company with him four times. This is not quite 
enough to make her understand his character." 

" Not as you represent it. Had she merely dined with 
him, she might only have discovered whether he had 
a good appetite ; but you must remember that four 
evenings have been also spent together — and four evenings 
may do a great deaU" 

" Yes ; these four evenings have enabled them to 



( 23 ) 

ascertain that they both like Vingt-un better than Com- 
merce ; but with respect to any other leading charac- 
teristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded." 

" Well," said Charlotte, " I wish Jane success with all 
my heart ; and if she were married to him to-morrow, 
I should think she had as good a chance of happiness, as 
if she were to be studying his character for a twelve- 
month. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of 
chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so 
well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, 
it does not advance their felicity in the least. They 
always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to 
have their share of vexation ; and it is better to know 
as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom 
you are to pass your life." 

" You make me laugh, Charlotte ; but it is not sound, j 
You know it is not sound, and that you would never \ 
act in this way yourself." 

Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her 
sister, EHzabeth was far from suspecting that she was 
herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes 
of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed 
her to be pretty ; he had looked at her without admiration 
at the ball ; and when they next met, he looked at her 
only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to 
himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature 
in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncom- 
monly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark 
eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally 
mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye 
more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, 
he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and 
pleasing ; and in spite of his asserting that her manners 
were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught 
by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly 
unaware ; — to her he was only the man who made himself 
agreeable no where, and who had not thought her handsome 
enough to dance with. 


( 24 ) 

He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step 
towards conversing with her himself, attended to her 
conversation with others. His doing so drew her notice. 
It was at Sir WilHam Lucas's, where a large party were 

" What does Mr. Darcy mean," said she to Charlotte, 
" by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster ? " 

" That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer.'* 

" But if he does it any more I shall certainly let him 
know that I see what he is about. He has a very satirical 
eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, 
I shall soon grow afraid of him." 

On his approaching them soon afterwards, though 
without seeming to have any intention of speaking. Miss 
Lucas defied her friend to mention such a subject to him, 
which immediately provoking Elizabeth to do it, she 
turned to him and said, 

" Did not you think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself 
uncommonly well just now, when I was teazing Colonel 
Forster to give us a ball at Meryton ? " 

" With great energy ; — but it is a subject which always 
makes a lady energetic." 

" You are severe on us." 

" It will be her turn soon to be teazed," said Miss 
Lucas. " I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and 
you know what follows." 

" You are a very strange creature by way of a friend ! — 
always wanting me to play and sing before any body and 
every body ! — If my vanity had taken a musical turn, 
you would have been invaluable, but as it is, I would 
really rather not sit down before those who must be in 
the habit of hearing the very best performers." On Miss 
Lucas's persevering, however, she added, " Very well ; 
if it must be so, it must." And gravely glancing at 
Mr. Darcy, " There is a fine old saying, which every body 
here is of course familiar with — ' Keep your breath to cool 
your porridge,' — and I shall keep mine to swell my 


( 25 ) 

Her performance was pleasing, though by no means 
capital. After a song or two, and before she could reply 
to the entreaties of several that she would sing again, she 
was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by her sister 
Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain 
one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accom- 
plishments, was always impatient for display. 

Mary had neither genius nor taste ; and though vanity 
had given her application, it had given her likewise a 
pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have 
injured a higher degree of excellence than she had reached. 
Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been listened to with 
much more pleasure, though not playing half so well ; 
and Mary, at the end of a long concerto, was glad to pur- 
chase praise and gratitude by Scotch and Irish airs, at 
the request of her younger sisters, who with some of the 
Lucases and two or three officers joined eagerly in dancing 
at one end of the room. 

Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such 
a mode of passing the evening, to the exclusion of all con- 
versation, and was too much engrossed by his own thoughts 
to perceive that Sir William Lucas was his neighbour, till 
Sir William thus began. 

" What a charming amusement for young people this 
is, Mr. Darcy ! — There is nothing like dancing after all. — 
I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished 

" Certainly, Sir ; — and it has the advantage also of 
being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the 
world. — Every savage can dance." 

Sir William only smiled. " Your friend performs 
delightfully ; " he continued after a pause, on seeing 
Bingley join the group ; — " and I doubt not that you are 
an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy." 

" You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe. Sir." 

" Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure 
from the sight. Do you often dance at St. James's ? " 

" Never, sir." 


( 26 ) 

" Do you not think it Avould be a proper compliment to 
the place ? " 

"It is a compliment which I never pay to any place 
if I can avoid it." 

" You have a house in town, I conclude ? " 

Mr. Darcy bowed. 

" I had once some thoughts of fixing in town myself — 
for I am fond of superior society ; but I did not feel 
quite certain that the air of London would agree with 
Lady Lucas." 

He paused in hopes of an answer ; but his companion 
was not disposed to make any ; and Elizabeth at that 
instant moving towards them, he was struck with the 
notion of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her, 

" My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing ? — 
Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady 
to you as a very desirable partner. — You cannot refuse 
to dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you." 
And taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy, 
who, though extremely surprised, was not unwilling to 
receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with 
some discomposure to Sir William, 

" Indeed, Sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. — 
I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in 
order to beg for a partner." 

Mr. Darcy with grave propriety requested to be allowed 
the honour of her hand ; but in vain. Elizabeth was deter- 
mined ; nor did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his 
attempt at persuasion. 

" You excel so much in the dance. Miss Ehza, that it is 
cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you ; and though 
this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can 
have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half hour." 

" Mr. Darcy is all politeness," said Elizabeth, smiling. 

" He is indeed — but considering the inducement, my 
dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance ; 
for who would object to such a partner ? " 

Elizabeth looked archly, and, turned away. Her 


( 27 ) 

resistance had not injured her with the gentleman, and 
he was thinking of her with some complacency, when thus 
accosted by Miss Bingley, 

" I can guess the subject of your reverie." 

" I should imagine not." 

" You are considering how insupportable it would be 
to pass many evenings in this manner — in such society ; 
and indeed I am quite of your opinion. I was never 
more annoyed ! The insipidity and yet the noise ; the 
nothingness and yet the self-importance of all these 
people ! — What would I give to hear your strictures on 
them ! " 

"Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My 
mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been medi- 
tating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes 
in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." 

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, 
and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit 
of inspiring such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with 
great intrepidity, 

" Miss Elizabeth Bennet." 

" Miss Elizabeth Bennet ! " repeated Miss Bingley. 
" I am all astonishment. How long has she been such 
a favourite ? — and pray when am I to wish you joy ? " 

" That is exactly the question which I expected you 
to ask. A lady's imagination is very rapid ; it jumps 
from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a 
moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy." 

" Nay, if you are so serious about it, I shall consider 
the matter as absolutely settled. You will have a charming 
mother-in-law, indeed, and of course she will be always 
at Pemberley with you." 

He listened to her with perfect indifference, while she 
chose to entertain herself in this manner, and as his com- 
posure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long. 


( 28 ) 


Mr. Bennet's property consisted almost entirely in an 
estate of two thousand a year, which, unfortunately for 
his daughters, was entailed in default of heirs male, on 
a distant relation ; and their mother's fortune, . though 
ample for her situation in life, could but ill supply the 
deficiency of his. Her father had been an attorney in 
Meryton, and had left her four thousand pounds. 

She had a sister married to a Mr. Phillips, who had 
been a clerk to their father, and succeeded him in the 
business, and a brother settled in London in a respect- 
able line of trade. 

The village of Longbourn was only one mile from 
Meryton ; a most convenient distance for the young 
ladies, who were usually tempted thither three or four 
times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt and to a 
milliner's shop just over the way. The two youngest 
of the family, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly 
frequent in these attentions ; their minds were more 
vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better offered, 
a walk to Meryton was necessary to amuse their morning 
hours and furnish conversation for the evening ; and 
however bare of news the country in general might be, 
they always contrived to learn some from their aunt. 
At present, indeed, they were well supplied both with news 
and happiness by the recent arrival of a militia regiment 
in the neighbourhood ; it was to remain the whole winter, 
and Meryton was the head quarters. 

Their visits to Mrs. Philips were now productive of 
the most interesting intelligence. Every day added 
something to their knowledge of the officers' names and 
connections. Their lodgings were not long a secret, and 
at length they began to know the officers themselves. 
Mr. Phihps visited them all, and this opened to his nieces 


( 29 ) 

a source of felicity unknown before. They could talk of 
nothing but officers ; and Mr. Bingley's large fortune, 
the mention of which gave animation to their mother, 
was worthless in their eyes when opposed to the regimentals 
of an ensign. 

After listening one morning to their effusions on this 
subject, Mr. Bennet coolly observed, 

" From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, 
you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have 
suspected it some time, but I am now convinced." 

Catherine was disconcerted, and made no answer ; but 
Lydia, with perfect indifference, continued to express her 
admiration of Captain Carter, and her hope of seeing him 
in the course of the day, as he was going the next morning 
to London. 

" I am astonished, my dear," said Mrs. Bennet, " that 
you should be so ready to think your own children silly. 
If I wished to think slightingly of any body's children, 
it should not be of my own however." 

*'If my children are silly I must hope to be always 
sensible of it." 

" Yes — but as it happens, they are all of them very 

" This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we 
do not agree. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided 
in every particular, but I must so far differ from you 
as to think our two youngest daughters uncommonly 

" My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls 
to have the sense of their father and mother. — When 
they get to our age I dare say they will not think about 
officers any more than we do. I remember the time when 
I liked a red coat myself very well — and indeed so I do 
still at my heart ; and if a smart young colonel, with 
five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls, 
I shall not say nay to him ; and I thought Colonel Forstcr 
looked very becoming the other night at Sir William's in 
his regimentals." 

" Mama." 

( 30 ) 

"Mama," cried Lydia, " my aunt says that Colonel 
Forster and Captain Carter do not go so often to Miss 
Watson's as they did when they first came ; she sees 
them now very often standing in Clarke's library." 

Mrs. Bennet was prevented replying by the entrance of 
the footman with a note for Miss Bennet ; it came from 
Netherfield, and the servant waited for an answer. Mrs. 
Bennet' s eyes sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly 
calling out, while her daughter read, 

" Well, Jane, who is it from ? what is it about ? what 
does he say ? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us ; make 
haste, my love." 

" It is from Miss Bingley," said Jane, and then read 
it aloud. 

" My dear Friend, 
" If you are not so compassionate as to dine to-day 
with Louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each 
other for the rest of our lives, for a whole day's tete-a-tete 
between two women can never end without a quarrel. 
Come as soon as you can on the receipt of this. My 
brother and the gentlemen are to dine with the officers. 
Yours ever, 

" Caroline Bingley." 

" With the officers ! " cried Lydia. " I wonder my 
aunt did not tell us of f/m/." 

" Dining out," said Mrs. Bennet, " that is very un- 

" Can I have the carriage ? " said Jane. 

" No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because 
it seems likely to rain ; and then you must stay all night." 

" That would be a good scheme," said Elizabeth, " if you 
were sure that they would not offer to send her home." 

" Oh ! but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise 
to go to Meryton ; and the Hursts have no horses to 

" I had much rather go in the coach." 

" But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, 



( 31 ) 

I am sure. They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, 
are not they ? " 

" They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I can 
get them." 

" But if you have got them to day," said Elizabeth, 
" my mother's purpose will be answered." 

She did at last extort from her father an acknowledg- 
ment that the horses were engaged. Jane was therefore 
obliged to go on horseback, and her mother attended her 
to the door with many cheerful prognostics of a bad day. 
Her hopes were answered ; Jane had not been gone long 
before it rained hard. Her sisters were uneasy for her, but 
her mother was delighted. The rain continued the whole 
evening without intermission ; Jane certainly could not 
come back. 

" This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed ! " said Mrs. 
Bennet, more than once, as if the credit of making it rain 
were all her own. Till the next morning, however, she 
was not aware of all the felicity of her contrivance. Break- 
fast was scarcely over when a servant from Netherfield 
brought the following note for Elizabeth : 

" My dearest Lizzy, 
*' I FIND myself very unwell this morning, which, 
I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through 
yesterday. My kind friends will not hear of my returning 
home till I am better. They insist also on my seeing 
Mr. Jones — therefore do not be alarmed if you should 
hear of his having been to me — and excepting a sore- 
throat and head-ache there is not much the matter with 

^^' "Yours, &c." 

" Well, my dear," said Mr. Bennet, when Elizabeth had 
read the note aloud, " if your daughter should have a 
dangerous fit of illness, if she should die, it would be 
a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, 
and under your orders." 

" Oh ! I am not at all afraid of her dying. People 
do not die of little trifling colds. She will be taken good 


{ 32 ) 

care of. As long as she stays there, it is all very well. 
I would go and see her, if I could have the carriage.'* 

Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, was determined to go 
to her, though the carriage was not to be had ; and as 
she was ho horse-woman, walking was her only alternative. 
She declared her resolution. 

" How can you be so silly," cried her mother, " as to 
think of such a thing; in all this dirt ! You will not be 
fit to be seen when you get there." 

" I shall be very fit to see Jane — which is all I want." 

" Is this a hint to me, Lizzy," said her father, " to send 
for the horses ? " 

" No, indeed. I do not wish to avoid the walk. The 
distance is nothing, when one has a motive ; only three 
miles. I shall be back by dinner." 

" I admire the activity of your benevolence," observed 
Mary, " but every impulse of feeling should be guided by 
reason ; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be 
in proportion to what is required." 

" We will go as far as Meryton with you," said Catherine 
and Lydia. — Elizabeth accepted their company, and the 
three young ladies set off together. 

" If we make haste," said Lydia, as they walked along, 
" perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter before 
he goes." 

In Meryton they parted ; the two youngest repaired 
to the lodgings of one of the officers' wives, and Elizabeth 
continued her walk alone, crossing field after field at a 
quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles 
with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within 
view of the house, with weary ancles, dirty stockings, and 
a face glowing with the warmth of exercise. 

She was shewn into the breakfast-parlour, where all 
but Jane were assembled, and where her appearance 
created a great deal of surprise. — That she should have 
walked three miles so early in the day, in such dirty 
weather, and by herself, was almost incredible to Mrs. 
Hurst and Miss Bingley ; and Elizabeth was convinced 


( 33 ) 

that they held her in contempt for it. She was received, 
however, very pohtely by them ; and in their brother's 
manners there was something better than poHteness ; 
there was good humour and kindness. — Mr. Darcy said 
very little, and Mr. Hurst nothing at all. The former 
was divided between admiration of the brilliancy which 
exercise had given to her complexion, and doubt as to 
the occasion's justifying her coming so far alone. The 
latter was thinking only of his breakfast. 

Her enquiries after her sister were not very favour- 
ably answered. Miss Bennet had slept ill, and though up, 
was very feverish and not well enough to leave her room. 
Elizabeth was glad to be taken to her immediately ; and 
Jane, who had only been withheld by the fear of giving 
alarm or inconvenience, from expressing in her note how 
much she longed for such a visit, was delighted at her 
entrance. She was not equal, however, to much con- 
versation, and when Miss Bingley left them together, 
could attempt little beside expressions of gratitude for 
the extraordinary kindness she was treated with. Eliza- 
beth silently attended her. 

When breakfast was over, they were joined by the 
sisters ; and Elizabeth began to like them herself, when 
she saw how much affection and solicitude they shewed 
for Jane. The apothecary came, and having examined 
his patient, said, as might be supposed, that she had 
caught a violent cold, and that they must endeavour to 
get the better of it ; advised her to return to bed, and 
promised her some draughts. The advice was followed 
readily, for the feverish symptoms increased, and her 
head ached acutely. Elizabeth did not quit her room 
for a moment, nor were the other ladies often absent ; 
the gentlemen being out, they had in fact nothing to do 

When the clock struck three, Elizabeth felt that she 
must go ; and very unwillingly said so. Miss Bingley 
offered her the carriage, and she only wanted a little 
pressing to accept it, when Jane testified such concern 

pp- D in 

( 34 ) 

in parting with her, that ^liss Bingley was obliged to 
convert the offer of the chaise into an invitation to remain 
at Netherfield for the present. Ehzabeth most thankfully- 
consented, and a servant was dispatched to Longbourn 
to acquaint the family \vith her stay, and bring back 
a supply of clothes. 


( 35 ) 


At five o'clock the two ladies retired to dress, and 
at half past six Elizabeth was summoned to dinner. To 
the civil enquiries which then poured in, and amongst 
which she had the pleasure of distinguishing the much 
superior solicitude of Mr. Bingley's, she could not make 
a very favourable answer. Jane was by no means better. 
The sisters, on hearing this, repeated three or four times 
how much they were grieved, how shocking it was to have 
a bad cold, and how excessively they disliked being ill 
themselves ; and then thought no more of the matter : 
and their indifference towards Jane when not immediately 
before them, restored Elizabeth to the enjoyment of all 
her original dislike. * 

Their brother, indeed, was the only one of the party 
whom she could regard with any complacency. His 
anxiety for Jane was evident, and his attentions to herself 
most pleasing, and they prevented her feeling herself so 
mueh an intruder as she believed she was considered by 
the others. She had very little notice from any but him. 
Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Darcy, her sister 
scarcely less so ; and as for Mr. Hurst, by whom Elizabeth 
sat, he was an indolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, 
and play at cards, who when he found her prefer a plain 
dish to a ragout, had nothing to say to her. 

When dinner was over, she returned directly to Jane, 
and Miss Bingley began abusing her as soon as she was 
out of the room. Her manners were pronounced to be 
very bad indeed, a mixture of pride and impertinence ; 
she had no conversation, no stile, no taste, no beauty. 
Mrs. Hurst thought the same, and added, 

" She has nothing, in short, to recommend her, but 
being an excellent walker. I shall never forget her 
appearance this morning. She really looked almost wild." 

D2 "She 

( 36 ) ' 

" She did indeed, Louisa. I could hardly keep my 
countenance. Very nonsensical to come at all ! Why 
must she be scampering about the country, because her 
sister had a cold ? Her hair so untidy, so blowsy ! " 

" Yes, and her petticoat ; I hope you saw her petticoat, 
six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain ; and the 
gown which had been let down to hide it, not doing its 

" Your picture may be very exact, Louisa," said 
Bingley ; " but this was all lost upon me. I thought 
Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well, when she 
came into the room this morning. Her dirty petticoat 
quite escaped my notice." 

" You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure," said Miss 
Bingley ; " and I am inclined to think that you would 
not wish to see your sister make such an exhibition." 

" Certainly not." 

" To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or 
whatever it is, above her ancles in dirt, and alone, quite 
alone ! what could she mean by it ? It seems to me 
to shew an abominable sort of conceited independence, 
a most country town indifference to decorum." 

*' It shews an affection for her sister that is very 
pleasing," said Bingley. 

" I am afraid, Mr. Darcy," observed Miss Bingley, in 
a half whisper, " that this adventure has rather affected 
your admiration of her fine eyes." 

" Not at all," he replied ; " they were brightened by 
the exercise." — A short pause followed this speech, and 
Mrs. Hurst began again. 

" I have an excessive regard for Jane Bennet, she is 
really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she 
were well settled. But ^vith such a father and mother, and 
such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it." 

" I think I have heard you say, that their uncle is an 
attorney in Meryton." 

" Yes ; and they have another, who lives somewhere 
near Cheapside." 

" That 

( 37 ) 

"That is capital," added her sister, and they both 
laughed heartily. 

" If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside," cried 
Bingley, " it would not make them one jot less agreeable." 

" But it must very materially lessen their chance of 
marrying men of any consideration in the world," replied 

To this speech Bingley made no answer ; but his sisters 
gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for 
some time at the expense of their dear friend's vulgar 

With a renewal of tenderness, however, they repaired 
to her room on leaving the dining-parlour, and sat with 
lier till summoned to coffee. She was still very poorly, 
and Elizabeth would not quit her at all, till late in the 
evening, when she had the comfort of seeing her asleep, 
and when it appeared to her rather right than pleasant 
that she should go down stairs herself. On entering the 
drawing-room she found the whole party at loo, and was 
immediately invited to join them ; but suspecting them 
to be playing high she declined it, and making her sister 
the excuse, said she would amuse herself for the short 
time she could stay below with a book. Mr. Hurst looked 
at her with astonishment. 

" Do you prefer reading to cards ? " said he ; " that 
is rather singular." 

** Miss Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, " despises cards. 
She is a great reader and has no pleasure in anything else." 

" I deserve neither such praise nor such censure," cried 
Elizabeth ; "I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure 
in many things." 

" In nursing your sister I am sure you have pleasure," 
said Bingley ; " and I hope it will soon be increased by 
seeing her quite well." 

Elizabeth thanked him from her heart, and then walked 
towards a table where a few books were lying. He im- 
mediately offered to fetch her others ; all that his library 


( 38 ) 

" And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit 
and my own credit ; but I am an idle fellow, and though 
I have not many, I have more than I ever look into." 

Elizabeth assured him that she could suit herself per- 
fectly with those in the room. 

" I am astonished," said Miss Bingley, " that my father 
should have left so small a collection of books. — What 
a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy ! " 

" It ought to be good," he replied, " it has been the 
work of many generations." 

",And then you have added so much to it yourself, you 
are always buying books." 

" I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library 
in such days as these." 

*' Neglect ! I am .sure you neglect nothing that can add 
to the beauties of that noble place. Charles, when you 
build your house, I wish it may be half as delightful as 

" I wish it may." ^ 

" But I would really advise you to make your purchase in 
that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of model. 
There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire." 

" With all my heart ; I will buy Pemberley itself if 
Darcy will sell it." 

" I am talking of possibilities, Charles." 

'' Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more 
possible to get Pemberley by purchase than by imitation." 

Elizabeth was so much caught by what passed, as to 
leave her very little attention for her book ; and soon 
laying it wholly aside, she drew near the card-table, and 
stationed herself between Mr. Bingley and his eldest sister, 
to observe the game. 

" Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring ? " said 
Miss Bingley ; " will she be as tall as I am ? " 

" I think she will. She is now about Miss Elizabeth 
Bennet's height, or rather taller." 

" How I long to sec her again ! I never met with 
anybody who delighted mc so much. Such a countenance, 



( 39 ) 

such manners ! and so extremely accomplished for her 
age ! Her performance on the piano-forte is exquisite." 

"It is amazing to me," said Bingley, " how young 
ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished, as 
they all are." 

" All young ladies accomplished ! My dear Charles, what 
do you mean ? " • 

" Yes, all of them, I think. They all paint tables, 
cover skreens and net purses. I scarcely know any one 
who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard 
a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being 
informed that she was very accomplished." 

" Your list of the common extent of accomplishments," 
said Darcy, " has too much truth. The word is applied 
to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by 
netting a purse, or covering a skreen. But I am very far 
from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in 
general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, 
in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really 

" Nor I, I am sure," said Miss Bingley. 

" Then," observed EHzabeth, " you must comprehend 
a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman." 

" Yes ; I do comprehend a great deal in it." 

" Oh ! certainly," cried his faithful assistant, " no one 
can be really esteemed accomplished, who does not greatly 
surpass what is usually met with. QA woman must have 
a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, 
and the modern languages, to deserve the word ; and be- 
sides all this, she must possess a certain something in her 
air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address 
and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved." 

" All this she must possess," added Darcy, " and to 
all this she must yet add something more substantial, in 
the improvement of her mind by extensive reading." 

" I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six 
accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your 
knowing any»^^ "^ 

^ "Are 

( 40 ) 

" Aire you so severe upon your own sex, as to doubt the 
possibility of all this ? " 

" / never saw such a woman. / never saw such capacity, 
and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe, 

Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley both cried out against the 
injustice of her implied doubt, and were both protesting that 
they knew many women who answered this description, 
when Mr. Hurst called them to order, with bitter complaints 
of their inattention to what was going forward. As all 
conversation was thereby at an end, Elizabeth soon after- 
wards left the room. 

" Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, when the door was 
closed on her, " is one of those young ladies who seek to 
recommend themselves to the other sex, by undervaluing 
their own ; and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. 
But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art." 

"Undoubtedly," replied Darcy, to whom this remark 
was chiefly addressed, " there is meanness in all the arts 
which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captiva- 
tion. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable." 

Miss Bingley was not so entirely satisfied with this reply 
as to continue the subject. 

Elizabeth joined them again only to say that her sister 
was worse, and that she could not leave her. Bingley 
urged Mr. Jones's being sent for immediately ; while his 
sisters, convinced that no country advice could be of any 
service, recommended an express to town for one of the 
most eminent physicians. This, she would not hear of; 
but she was not so unwilling to comply with their brother's 
proposal ; and it was settled that Mr. Jones should be 
sent for early in the morning, if Miss Bennet were not 
decidedly better. Bingley was quite uncomfortable ; his 
sisters declared that they were miserable. They solaced 
their wretchedness, however, by duets after supper, while 
he could find no better relief to his feelings than by giving 
his housekeeper directions that every possible attention 
might be paid to the sick ladv and her sister. 


{ 41 ) 


Elizabeth passed the chief of the night in her sister's 
room, and in the morning had the pleasure of being able 
to send a tolerable answer to the enquiries which she very 
early received from Mr. Bingley by a housemaid, and some 
time afterwards from the two elegant ladies who waited 
on his sisters. In spite of this amendment, however, she 
requested to have a note sent to Longbourn, desiring her 
mother to visit Jane, and form her own judgment of her 
situation. The note was immediately dispatched, and its 
contents as quickly complied with. Mrs. Bennet, accom- 
panied by her two youngest girls, reached Netherfield soon 
after the family breakfast. 

Had she found Jane in any apparent danger, Mrs. 
Bennet would have been very miserable ; but being 
satisfied on seeing her that her illness was not alarming, 
she had no wish of her recovering immediately, as her 
restoration to health would probably remove her from 
Netherfield. She would not listen therefore to her 
daughter's proposal of being carried home ; neither did 
the apothecary, who arrived about the same time, think 
it at all advisable. After sitting a little while with Jane, 
on Miss Bingley's appearance and invitation, the mother 
and three daughters all attended her into the breakfast 
parlour. Bingley met them with hopes that Mrs. Bennet 
had not found Miss Bennet worse than she expected. 

" Indeed I have. Sir," was her answer. " She is a great 
deal too ill to be moved. Mr. Jones says we must not 
think of moving her. We must trespass a little longer 
on your kindness." 

" Removed ! " cried Bingley. " It must not be 
thought of. My sister, I am sure, will not hear of her 

" You may depend upon it, Madam," said Miss Bingley, 


( 42 ) 

with cold civility, " that Miss Bennet shall receive every 
possible attention while she remains with us." 

Mrs. Bennet was profuse in her acknowledgments. 

" I am sure," she added, "if it was not for such good 
friends I do not know what would become of her, for she 
is very ill indeed, and suffers a vast deal, though with the 
greatest patience in the world, which is always the way with 
her, for she has, without exception, the sweetest temper I 
ever met with. I often tell my other girls they are nothing 
to her. You have a sweet room here, Mr. Bingley, and a 
charming prospect over that gravel walk. I do not know 
a place in the country that is equal to Netherfield. You 
will not think of quitting it in a hurry I hope, though 
you have but a short lease." 

" Whatever I do is done in a hurry," replied he ; " and 
therefore if I should resolve to quit Netherfield, I should 
probably be off in five minutes. At present, however, 
I consider myself as quite fixed here." 

" That is exactly what I should have supposed of you," 
said Elizabeth. 

" You begin to comprehend me, do you ? " cried he, 
turning towards her. 

" Oh ! yes — I understand you perfectly." 

" I wish I might take this for a compliment ; but to 
be so easily seen through I am afraid is pitiful." 

" That is as it happens. It does not necessarily follow 
that a deep, intricate character is more or less estimable 
than such a one as yours." 

" Lizzy," cried her mother, " remember where you are, 
and do not run on in the wild manner that you are suffered 
to do at home." 

" I did not know before," continued Bingley immedi- 
ately, " that you were a studier of character. It must be 
an amusing study." 

" Yes ; but intricate characters are the most amusing. 
They have at least that advantage." 

" The country," said Darcy, " can in general supply but 
few subjects for such a study. In a country neighbour- 

{ 43 ) 

hood you move in a very confined and unvarying 

" But people themselves alter so much, that there is 
something new to be observed in them for ever." 

" Yes, indeed," cried Mrs. Bennet, offended by his 
manner of mentioning, a country neighbourhood. "I 
assure you there is quite as much of that going on in the 
country as in town." 

Every body was surprised ; and Darcy, after looking 
at her for a moment, turned silently away. Mrs. Bennet, 
who fancied she had gained a complete victory over him, 
continued her triumph. 

" I cannot see that London has any great advantage 
over the country for my part, except the shops and public 
places. The country is a vast deal pleasanter, is not it, 
Mr. Bingley ? " 

*' When I am in the country," he replied, " I never 
wish to leave it ; and when I am in town it is pretty much 
the same. They have each their advantages, and I can 
be equally happy in either." 

" Aye — that is because you have the right disposition. 
But that gentleman," looking at Darcy, " seemed to think 
the country was nothing at all." 

" Indeed, Mama, you are mistaken," said Elizabeth, 
blushing for her mother. " You quite mistook Mr. Darcy. 
He only meant that there were not such a variety of people 
to be met with in the country as in town, which you must 
acknowledge to be true." 

" Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were ; but as 
to not meeting with many peoj^le in this neighbourhood, 
I believe there are few neighbourhoods larger. I know 
we dine with four and twenty families." 

Nothing but concern for Elizabeth could enable Bingley 
to keep his countenance. His sister was less delicate, and 
directed her eye towards Mr. Darcy with a very expressive 
smile. Elizabeth, for the sake of saying something that 
might turn her mother's thoughts, now asked her if Charlotte 
Lucas had been at Longbourn since her coming away. 


( 44 ) 

" Yes, she called yesterday with her father. Wliat an 
agreeable man Sir William is, Mr. Bingley — is not he ? 
so much the man of fashion ! so genteel and so easy ! — 
He has always something to say to every body. — That is 
my idea of good breeding ; and those persons who fancy 
themselves very important and never open their mouths, 
quite mistake the matter." 

" Did Charlotte dine with you ? " 

" No, she would go home. I fancy she was wanted 
about the mince pies. For my part, Mr. Bingley, / always 
keep servants that can do their own work ; viy daughters 
are brought up differently. But every body is to judge 
for themselves, and the Lucases are very good sort of 
girls, I assure you. It is a pity they are not handsome ! 
Not that / think Charlotte so very plain — but then she is 
our particular friend." 

" She seems a very pleasant young woman," said 

" Oh ! dear, yes ; — ^but you must own she is very plain. 
Lady Lucas herself has often said so, and envied me 
Jane's beauty. I do not like to boast of my own child, 
but to be sure, Jane — one does not often see any body 
better looking. It is what every body says. I do not 
trust my own partiality. When she was only fifteen, 
there was a gentleman at my brother Gardiner's in town, 
so much in love with her, that my sister-in-law was sure 
he would make her an offer before we came away. But 
however he did not. Perhaps he thought her too young. 
However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty 
they were." ^ 

"And so ended his affection," said Elizabeth im- 
patiently. " There has been many a one, I fancy, over- 
come in the same way. I wonder who first discovered 
the efficacy of poetry in driving away love ! " 

" I have been used to consider poetry as the food of 
love," said Darcy. 

'' Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. E^'ery thing 
nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a 



( 45 ) 

slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one 
good sonnet will starve it entirely away." 

Darcy only smiled ; and the general pause which ensued 
made Elizabeth tremble lestlier mother should be exposing 
herself again. She longed to speak, but could think of 
nothing to say ; and after a short silence Mrs. Bennet 
began repeating her thanks to Mr. Bingley for his kindness 
to Jane, with an apology for troubling him also with 
Lizzy. Mr. Bingley was unaffectedly civil in his answer, 
and forced his younger sister to be civil also, and say what 
the occasion required. She performed her part indeed 
without much graciousness, but Mrs. Bennet was satisfied, 
and soon afterwards ordered her carriage. Upon this 
signal, the youngest of her daughters put herself forward. 
The two girls had been whispering to each other during 
the whole visit, and the result of it was, that the youngest 
should tax Mr. Bingley with having promised on his first 
coming into the country to give a ball at Netherfield. 

Lydia was a stout, well-grow^n girl of fifteen, with a fine 
complexion and good-humoured countenance ; a favourite 
with her mother, whose affection had brought her into 
public at an early age. She had high animal spirits, and 
a sort of natural self-consequence, w^hich the attentions 
of the officers, to whom her uncle's good dinners and 
her own easy manners recommended her, had increased 
into assurance. She was very equal therefore to address 
Mr. Bingley on the subject of the ball, and abruptly 
reminded him of his promise ; adding, that it would be 
the most shameful thing in the world if he did not keep it. 
His answer to this sudden attack was delightful to their 
mother's ear. 

" I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my engage- 
ment ; and when your sister is recovered, you shall if you 
please name the very day of the ball. But you would not 
wish to be dancing while she is ill." 

Lydia declared herself satisfied. " Oh ! yes — it would 
be much better to wait till Jane was well, and by that time 


( 46 ) 

most likely Captain Carter would be at Meryton again. 
And when you have given your ball," she added, " I shall 
insist on their giving one also. I shall tell Colonel Forster 
it will be quite a shame if he does not." 

Mrs. Bennet and her daughters then departed, and 
Elizabeth returned instantly to Jane, leaving her own 
and her relations' behaviour to the remarks of the two 
ladies and Mr. Darcy ; the latter of whom, however, 
\ could not be prevailed on to join in their censure of her^ 
in spite of all Miss Bingley 's witticisms on fine eyes. 


( 47 ) 


The day passed much as the day before had done. 
Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley had spent some hours of the 
morning with the invaHd, who continued, though slowly, 
to mend ; and in the evening Elizabeth joined their party 
in the drawing-room. The loo table, however, did not 
appear. Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley, seated 
near him, was watching the progress of his letter, and 
repeatedly calling off his attention by messages to his 
sister. Mr. Hurst and Mr. Bingley were at piquet, and 
Mrs. Hurst was observing their game. 

Ehzabeth took up some needlework, and was sufficiently 
amused in attending to what passed between Darcy and 
his companion. The perpetual commendations of the 
lady either on his hand- writing, or on the evenness of 
his lines, or on the length of his letter, with the perfect 
unconcern with which her praises were received, formed 
a curious dialogue, and was exactly in unison with her 
opinion of each. 

'* How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such 
a letter ! " 

He made no answer. 
" You write uncommonly fast." 
" You are mistaken. I write rather slowly." 
" How many letters you must have occasion to write 
in the course of the year ! Letters of business too ! How 
odious I should think them ! " 

" It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead 
of to yours." 

" Pray tell your sister that I long to see her." 
" I have already told her so once, by your desire." 
" I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend 
it for you. I mend pens remarkably well." 
" Thank you — but I always mend my own," 


( 48 ) 

" How can you contrive to write so even ? " 

He was silent. 

" Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improve- 
ment on the harp, and pray let her know that I am quite 
in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, 
and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's." 

" Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till 
I write again ? — At present I have not room to do them 

" Oh I it is of no consequence. I shall see her in January. 
But do you always write such charming long letters to 
her, Mr. Darcy ? " 

" They are generally long ; but whether always charm- 
ing, it is not for me to determine." 

" It is a rule with me, that a person who can write 
a long letter, with ease, cannot write ill." 

" That will not do for a compliment to Darcy,Xaroline," 
cried her brother — " because he does not write with ease. 
He studies too much for words of four syllables. — Do not 
you, Darcy ? " 

" My stile of writing is very different from yours." 

" Oh ! " cried Miss Bingley, " Charles writes in the most 
careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, 
and blots the rest." 

" My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to 
express them — ^by which means my letters sometimes 
convey no ideas at all to my correspondents." 

" Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, " must 
disarm reproof." 

" Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, " than the 
appearance of 'humility. It is often only carelessness of 
opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast." 

" And which of the two do you call my little recent 
piece of modesty ? " 

" The indirect boast ; — for you are really proud of your 
defects in writing, because you consider them as pro- 
ceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of 
execution, which if not estimable, you think at least 


( 49 ) 

highly interesting. The power of doing any thing with 
quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and 
often without any attention to the imperfection of the 
performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning 
that if you ever resolved on quitting Netherfield you 
should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort 
of panegyric, of compliment to yourself — and yet what 
is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must 
leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real 
advantage to yourself or any one else ? " 

"Nay," cried Bingley, " this is too much, to remember 
at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. 
And yet, upon my honour, I believed what I said of myself 
to be true, and I believe it at this moment. At least, 
therefore, I did not assume the character of needless 
precipitance merely to shew off before the ladies." 

" I dare say you believed it ; but I am by no means 
convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. 
Your conduct would be quite as dependant on chance as 
that of any man I know ; and if, as you were mounting 
your horse, a friend were to say, ' Bingley, you had better 
stay till next week,' you would probably do it, you would 
probably not go — and, at another word, might stay a 

" You have only proved by this," cried Elizabeth, 
" that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own dis- 
position. You have shewn him off now much more than 
he did himself." 

" I am exceedingly gratified," said Bingley, " by your 
converting what my friend says into a compliment on the 
sweetness of my tei;nper. But I am afraid you are giving 
it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend ; 
for he would certainly think the better of me, if under 
such a circumstance I were to give a flat denial, and ride 
off as fast as I could." ^ 

" Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your 
original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in 
adhering to it ? " 

p- p- E " Upon 

( 50 ) 

" Upon my word I cannot exactly explain the matter, 
Darcy must speak for himself." 

" You expect me to account for opinions which you 
chuse to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. 
Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your 
representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the 
friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, 
and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it 
without offering one argument in favour of its propriety." 

" To yield readily — easily — to the persuasion of a friend 
is no merit with you." 

" To yield without conviction is no compliment to the 
understanding of either." 

" You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for 
the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for 
the requester would often make one readily yield to a 
request, without waiting for arguments to reason one into 
it. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you 
have supposed about Mr. Bingley. We may as well wait, 
perhaps, till the circumstance occurs, before we discuss 
the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. But in general 
and ordinary cases between friend and friend, where one 
of them is desired by the other to change a resolution 
of no very great moment, should you think ill of that person 
for complying with the desire, without waiting to be 
argued into it ? " 

" Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this 
subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree 
of importance which is to appertain to this request, as well 
as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties ? " 

" By all means," cried Bingley ; " let us hear all the 
particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and 
size; for that will have more weight in the argument, 
Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I assure you 
that if JDarcy were not such a great tall fellow, in com- 
parison with myself, I should not pay him half so much 
deference. I declare I do not know a more aweful object 
than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular 

places ; 

( 51 ) 

places ; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday 
evening when he has nothing to do." 

Mr. Darcy smiled ; but Elizabeth thought she could 
perceive that he was rather offended ; and therefore 
checked her laugh. Miss Bingley warmly resented the 
indignity he had received, in an expostulation with her 
brother for talking such nonsense. 

" I see your design, Bingley," said his friend. — " You 
dislike an argument, and want to silence this." 

" Perhaps I do. Arguments are too much like disputes. 
If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of 
the room, I shall be very thankful ; and then you may 
say whatever you hke of me." 

" What you ask," said Elizabeth, " is no sacrifice on 
my side ; and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter." 

Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish his letter. 

When that business was over, he applied to Miss Bingley 
and Elizabeth for the indulgence of some music. Miss 
Bingley moved with alacrity to the piano-forte, and after 
a polite request that Elizabeth would lead the way, which 
the other as politely and more earnestly negatived, she 
seated herself. 

Mrs. Hurst sang with her sister, and while they were 
thus employed Elizabeth could not help observing as she 
turned over some music books that lay on the instrument, 
how frequently Mr. Darcy's eyes were fixed on her. She 
hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object 
of admiration to so great a man ; and yet that he should 
look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange. 
She could only imagine however at last, that she drew 
his notice because there was a something about her more 
wrong and reprehensible, according to his ideas of right, 
than in any other person present. The supposition did 
not pain her. She liked him too little to care for his 

After playing some Italian songs. Miss Bingley varied 
the charm by a lively Scotch air ; and soon afterwards 
Mr. Darcy, drawing near Elizabeth, said to her — 

E 2 '' Do 

( 52 ) 

" Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to 
seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel ? " 

She smiled, but made no answer. He repeated the 
question, with some surprise at her silence. 

" Oh ! " said she, " I heard you before ; but I could not 
immediately determine what to say in reply. You wanted 
me, I know, to say ' Yes,' that you might have the pleasure 
of despising my taste ; but I always delight in overthrow- 
ing those kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their 
premeditated contempt. I have therefore made up my 
mind to tell you, that I do not want to dance a reel at all — 
and now despise me if you dare." 

" Indeed I do not dare." 

Elizabeth, having rather expected to affront him, was 
amazed at his gallantry ; but there was a mixture of 
sweetness and archness in her manner which made it 
difficult for her to affront anybody ; and Darcy had never 
been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He 
really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her 
connections, he should be in some danger. 

Miss Bingley saw, or suspected enough to be jealous ; 
and her great anxiety for the recovery of her dear friend 
Jane, received some assistance from her desire of getting 
rid of Elizabeth. 

She often tried to provoke Darcy into disliking her 
guest, by talking of their supposed marriage, and planning 
his happiness in such an alliance. 

" I hope," said she, as they were walking together in 
the shrubbery the next day, " you will give your mother- 
in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes place, 
as to the advantage of holding her tongue ; and if you 
can compass it, do cure the younger girls of running after 
the officers. — And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, 
endeavour to check that little something, bordering on 
conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses." 

" Have you any thing else to propose for my domestic 
felicity ? " 

" Oh ! yes. — Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt 


( S3 ) 

Philips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them 
next to your great uncle the judge. They are in the 
same profession, you know ; only in different lines. As for 
your Elizabeth's picture, you must not attempt to have it 
taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful 

" It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, 
but their colour and shape, and the eyc-lashes, so remark- 
ably fine, might be copied." 

At that moment they were met from anothep walk, by 
Mrs. Hurst and Elizabeth herself. 

" I did not know that you intended to walk," said 
Miss Bingley, in some confusion, lest they had been 

" You used us abominably ill," answered Mrs. Hurst, 
" in running away without telling us that you were coming 

Then taking the disengaged arm of Mr. Darcy, she left 
Elizabeth to walk by herself. The path just admitted 
three. Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness and immediately 
said, — 

" This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had 
better go into the avenue." 

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to 
remain with them, laughingly answered, 

" No, no ; stay where you are. — You are charmingly 
group'd, and appear to uncommon advantage. The 
picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. 
Good bye." 

She then ran gaily off, rejoicing as she rambled about, 
in the hope of being at home again in a day or two. Jane 
was already so much recovered as to intend leaving her 
room for a couple of hours that evening. 


( 54 ) 


When the ladies removed after dinner, Elizabeth ran 
up to her sister, and seeing her well guarded from cold, 
attended her into the drawing-room ; where she was 
welcomed by her two friends with many professions of 
pleasure ; and Elizabeth had never seen them so agree- 
able as they were during the hour which passed before 
the gentlemen appeared. Their powers of conversation 
were considerable. They could describe an entertainment 
with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh 
at their acquaintance with spirit. 

But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no longer 
the first object. Miss Bingley's eyes were instantly turned 
towards Darcy, and she had something to say to him 
before he had advanced many steps. He addressed him- 
self directly to Miss Bennet, with a polite congratulation ; 
Mr. Hurst also made her a slight bow, and said he was 
" very glad ; " but diffuseness and warmth remained for 
Bingley's salutation. He was full of joy and attention. 
The first half hour was spent in piling up the fire, lest she 
should suffer from the change of room ; and she removed 
at his desire to the other side of the fire-place, that she 
might be farther from the door. He then sat down by 
her, and talked scarcely to any one else. Elizabeth, at 
work in the opposite corner, saw it all with great delight. 

When tea was over, Mr. Hurst reminded his sister- 
in-l^^v of the card-table — but in vain. She had obtained 
private intelligence that Mr. Darcy did not wish for cards ; 
and Mr. Hurst soon found even his open petition rejected. 
She assured him that no one intended to play, and the™ 
silence of the whole party on the subject, seemed to justify" 
her. Mr. Hurst had therefore nothing to do, but to stretch 
himself on one of the sophas and go to sleep. Darcy took 
up a book ; Miss Binglcy did the same ; and Mrs. Hurst, 

princi pally j 

( 55 ) 

principally occupied in playing with her bracelets and rings, 
joined now and then in her brother's conversation with 
Miss Bennet. 

Miss Bingley's attention was quite as much engaged in 
watching Mr. Darcy's progress through his book, as in 
reading her own ; and she was perpetually either making 
some inquiry, or looking at his page. She could not win 
him, however, to any conversation ; he merely answered 
her question, and read on. At length, quite exhausted 
by the attempt to be amused with her own book, which 
she had only chosen because it was the second volume 
of his, she gave a great yawn and said, " How pleasant 
it is to spend an evening in this way ! I declare after all 
there is no enjoyment like reading ! How much sooner 
one tires of any thing than of a book ! — When I have 
a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an 
excellent library." 

No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw 
aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in 
quest of some amusement ; when hearing her brother 
mentioning a ball to Miss Bennet, she turned suddenly 
towards him and said, 

" By the bye, Charles, are you really serious in meditat- 
ing a dance at Netherfield ? — I would advise you, before 
you determine on it, to consult the wishes of the present 
party ; I am much mistaken if there are not some among 
us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than 
a pleasure." 

" If you mean Darcy," cried her brother, " he may go 
to bed, if he chuses, before it begins — but as for the ball, 
it is quite a settled thing ; and as soon as Nicholls has 
made white soup enough I shall send round my cards." 

" I should like balls infinitely better," she replied, " if 
they were carried on in a different manner ; but there is 
something insufferably tedious in the usual process of 
such a meeting. It would surely be much more rational 
if conversation instead of dancing made the order of 
the day." 


( 56 ) 

*' Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say 
but it would not be near so mueh like a ball." 

Miss Bingley made no answer ; and soon afterward", 
got up and walked about the room. Her figure was 
elegant, and she walked well ; — but Darcy, at whom it 
was all aimed, was still inflexibly studious. In the despera- 
tion of her feelings she resolved on one effort more ; and, 
turning to Elizabeth, said, 

" Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my 
example, and take a turn about the room. — I assure you 
it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude." 

Elizabeth was surprised, but agreed to it immediately. 
Miss Bingley succeeded no less in the real object of her 
civility ; Mr. Darcy looked up. He was as much awake 
to the novelty of attention in that quarter as Elizabeth 
herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book. He 
was directly invited to join their party, but he declined 
it, observing, that he could imagine but two motives for 
their chusing to walk up and down the room together, 
with either of which motives his joining them would 
interfere. " What could he mean ? she was dying to 
know what could be his meaning " — and asked Elizabeth 
whether she could at all understand him ? 

" Not at all," was her answer ; " but depend upon it, 
he means to be severe on us, and our surest way of dis- 
appointing him, will be to ask nothing about it." 

Miss Bingley, however, was incapable of disappointing 
Mr. Darcy in any thing, and persevered therefore in 
requiring an explanation of his two motives. 

" I have not the smallest objection to explaining them," 
said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. " You 
cither chuse this method of passing the evening because 
you are in each other's confidence and have secret affairs 
to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures 
appear to the greatest advantage in walking ; — ^if the first, 
I should be completely in your way ; — and if the second, 
I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire." 

" Oh ! shocking ! " cried Miss Bingley. " I never heard 


( 57 ) 

any thing so abominable. How shall we punish him for 
such a speech ? " 

" Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination," 
said Elizabeth. " We can all plague and punish one 
another. Teaze him — laugh at him. — Intimate as you 
are, you must know how it is to be done." 

" But upon my honour I do not I do assure you that 
my intimacy has not yet taught me that. Teaze calmness of 
temper and presence of mind ! No, no — I feel he may defy 
us there. And as to laughter, we will not expose ourselves, 
if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject. 
Mr. Darcy may hug himself." 

" Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at ! " cried Elizabeth. 
" That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope 
it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have 
many such acquaintance. I dearly love a laugh." 

" Miss Bingley," said he, " has given me credit for more 
than can be. The wisest and the best of men, nay, the 
wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous 
by a person whose first object in life is a joke." 

" Certainly," replied Elizabeth — " there are such people, 
but I hope I am not one of them. I hope I never ridicule 
what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and 
inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them 
whenever I can. — But these, I suppose, are precisely what 
you are without." 

" Perhaps that is not possible for any one. But it has 
been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which 
often expose a strong understanding to ridicule." 

'' Such as vanity and pride." 

" Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride — where 
there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always 
under good regulation." 

Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile. 

" Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume," 
said Miss Bingley ; — " and pray what is the result ? " 

" I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has 
no defect. He owns it himself without disguise." 


( 58 ) 

" No " — said Darcy, " I have made no such pretension. 
I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of under- 
standing. My temper I dare not vouch for. — It is I beheve 
too little yielding — certainly too little for the convenience 
of the world. I cannot forget the follies and vices of others 
so soon as I ought, nor their offences against myself. 
My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to 
move them. My temper would perhaps be called resent- 
ful. — My good opinion once lost is lost for ever." 

" That is a failing indeed ! " — cried EUzabeth. " Im- 
placable resentment is a shade in a character. But you 
have chosen your fault well. — I really cannot laugh at it. 
Yo»-are safe from me." 

j " There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency 
nrSome particular evil, a natural defect, which not even 
the best education can overcome." 

" And your defect is a propensity to hate every body." 

" And yours," he replied with a smile, " is wilfully to 
misunderstand them." ,^' 

" Do let us havc^aTlittle music," — cried Miss Bingley, 
tired of a conversation in which she had no share. — 
" Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst." 

Her sister made not the smallest objection, and the 
piano forte was opened, and Darcy, after a few moments 
recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the 
danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention. 



{ 59 ) 


In consequence of an agreement between the sisters, 
Elizabeth wrote the next morning to her mother, to beg 
that the carriage might be' sent for them in the course 
of the day. But Mrs. Bennet, who had calculated on her 
daughters remaining at Netherfield till the following 
Tuesday, which would exactly finish Jane's week, could 
not bring herself to receive them with pleasure before. 
Her answer, therefore, was not propitious, at least not to 
Elizabeth's wishes, for she was impatient to get home. 
Mrs. Bennet sent them word that they could not possibly 
have the carriage before Tuesday ; and in her postscript 
it was added, that if Mr. Bingley and his sister pressed them 
to stay longer, she could spare them very well. — Against 
staying longer, however, Elizabeth was positively resolved 
— nor did she nmch expect it would be asked ; and fearful, 
on the contrary, as being considered as intruding them- 
selves needlessly long, she urged Jane to borrow Mr. 
Bingley's carriage immediately, and at length it was 
settled that their original design of leaving Netherfield 
that morning should be mentioned, and the request made. 

The communication excited many professions of concern; 
and enough was said of wishing them to stay at least till 
the following day to work on Jane ; and till the morrow, 
their going was deferred. Miss Bingley was then sorry that 
she had proposed the delay, for her jealousy and dislike 
of one sister much exceeded her affection for the other. 

The master of the house heard with real sorrow that 
they were to go so soon, and repeatedly tried to persuade 
Miss Bennet that it would not be safe for her — that she 
was not enough recovered ; but Jane was firm where she 
felt herself to be right. 

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence — Elizabeth 
had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him 
more than he liked — and Miss Bingley was uncivil to her, 


( 60 ) 

and more teazing than usual to himself. He wisely 
resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admira- 
tion should now escape him, nothing that could elevate 
her with the hope of influencing his felicity ; sensible that 
if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during 
the last day must have material weight in confirming or 
crushing it. Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten 
words to her through the whole of Saturday, and though 
they were at one time left by themselves for half an hour, 
he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would 
not even look at her. 

On Sunday, after morning service, the separation, so 
agreeable to almost all, took place. Miss Bingley's civility 
to Elizabeth increased at last very rapidly, as well as her 
affection for Jane ; 'and when they parted, after assuring 
the latter of the pleasure it would always give her to see her 
either at Longbourn or Netherfield, and embracing her most 
tenderly, she even shook hands with the former. — Elizabeth 
took leave of the whole party in the liveliest spirits. 

They were not welcomed home very cordially by their 
mother. Mrs. Bennet wondered at their coming, and 
thought them very wrong to give so much trouble, and 
was sure Jane would have caught cold again. — But their 
father, though very laconic in his expressions of pleasure, 
was really glad to see them ; he had felt their importance 
in the family circle. The evening conversation, when they 
were all assembled, had lost much of its animation, and 
almost all its sense, by the absence of Jane and Elizabeth. 

They found Mary, as usual, deep in the study of thorough 
bass and human nature ; and had some new extracts to 
admire, and some new observations of thread-bare morality 
to listen to. Catherine and Lydia had information for 
them of a different sort. Much had been done, and much 
had been said in the regiment since the preceding Wednes- 
day ; several of the officers had dined lately with their 
uncle, a private had been flogged, and it had actually 
been hinted that Colonel Forster was going to be married. 



( 61 ) 


** I HOPE, my dear," said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as 
they were at breakfast the next morning, *' that you have 
ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason to 
expect an addition to o\ir family party." 

" Who do you mean, my dear ? I know of nobody that 
is coming I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen 
to call in, and I hope my dinners are good enough for her. 
I do not believe she often sees such at home." 

" The person of whom I speak, is a gentleman and a 
stranger." Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. — " A gentleman 
and a stranger ! It is Mr. Bingley I am sure. Why Jane 
— you never dropt a word of this ; you sly thing 1 Well, 
I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr. Bingley. — 
But — good lord ! how unlucky ! there is not a bit of fish 
to be got to-day. Lydia, my love, ring the bell. I must 
speak to Hill, this moment." 

" It is not Mr. Bingley," said her husband ; " it is 
a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my 

This roused a general astonishment ; and he had the 
pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and five 
daughters at once. 

After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, 
he thus explained. " About a month ago I received this 
letter, and about a fortnight ago I answered it, for I 
thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early 
attention. It is from my cousin, Mr. Collins, who, when 
I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as 
he pleases." 

" Oh ! my dear," cried his wife, " I cannot bear to 
hear that mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious 
man. I do think it is the hardest thing in the world, that 
your estate should be entailed away from your own 


( 62 ) 

children ; and I am sure if I had been you, I should have 
tried long ago to do something or other about it." ' 

Jane and Elizabeth attempted to explain to her the 
nature of an entail. They had often attempted it before, 
but it was a subject on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond 
the reach of reason ; and she continued to rail bitterly 
against the cruelty of settling an estate away from a family 
of five daughters, in favour of a man whom nobody cared 
anything about. 

" It certainly is a most iniquitous affair," said Mr. 
Bennet, " and nothing can clear Mr. Collins from the guilt 
of inheriting Longbourn. But if you will listen to his 
letter, you may perhaps be a little softened by his manner 
of expressing himself." 

" No, that I am sure I shall not ; and I think it was 
very impertinent of him to write to you at all, and very 
hypocritical. I hate such false friends. Why could not 
he keep on quarrelling with you, as his father did before 
him ? " 

" Why, indeed, he does seem to have had some filial 
scruples on that head, as you will hear." 

Hunaford, near Westerhamt Kent, 
15th October. 

Dear Sir, 

The disagreement subsisting between yourself and 
my late honoured father, always gave me much uneasiness, 
and since I have had the misfortune to lose him, I have 
frequently wished to heal the breach ; but for some time 
I was kept back by my own doubts, fearing lest it might 
seem disrespectful to his memory for me to be on good 
terms with any one, with whom it had always pleased 
him to be at variance. — " There, Mrs. Bennet." — My mind 
however is now made up on the subject, for having received 
ordination at Easter, I have been so fortunate as to be 
distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh, 
whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the 


( 63 ) 

valuable rectory of this parish, where it shall be my 
earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect 
towards her Ladyship, and be ever ready to perform those 
rites and ceremonies which are instituted by the Church 
of England. As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty 
to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families 
within the reach of my influence ; and on these grounds 
I flatter myself that my present overtures of good-will 
are highly commendable, and that the circumstance of 
my being next in the entail of Longbourn estate, will be 
kindly overlooked on your side, and not lead you to reject 
the offered olive branch. I cannot be otherwise than 
concerned at being the means of injuring your amiable 
daughters, and beg leave to apologise for it, as well as to 
assure you of my readiness to make them every possible 
amends, — but of this hereafter. If you should have no 
objection to receive me into your house, I propose my- 
self the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family, 
Monday, November 18th, by four o'clock, and shall 
probably trespass on your hospitality till the Saturday 
se'night following, which I can do without any incon- 
venience, as Lady Catherine is far from objecting to 
my occasional absence on a Sunday, provided that some 
other clergyman is engaged to do the duty of the day. 
I remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your 
lady and daughters, your well-wisher and friend, 

William Collins." 

" At four o'clock, therefore, we may expect this peace- 
making gentleman," said Mr. Bennet, as he folded up the 
letter. " He seems to be a most conscientious and polite 
young man, upon my word ; and I doubt not will prove 
a valuable acquaintance, especially if Lady Catherine 
should be so indulgent as to let him come to us again." 
* " There is some sense in what he says about the girls 
however ; and if he is disposed to make them any amends, 
I shall not be the person to discourage him." 

" Though it is difficult," said Jane, " to guess in what 


( 64 ) 

way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinki^ 
our due, the wish is certainly to his credit." 

EUzabeth was chiefly struck with his extraordinary 
deference for Lady Catherine, and his kind intention of 
christening, marrying, and burying his parishioners when- 
ever it were required. 

" He must be an oddity, I think," said she. " I cannot 
make him out. — There is something very pompous in his 
stile. — And what can he mean by apologizing for being 
next in the entail ? — We cannot suppose he would help 
it, if he could. — Can he be a sensible man, sir ? " 

" No, my dear ; I think not. I have great hopes of 
finding him quite the reverse. There is a mixture of 
servility and self-iriiportanee in his letter, which promises 
well. I am impatient to see him." 

" In point of composition," said Mary, " his letter does 
not seem defective. The idea of the olive branch perhaps 
is not wholly new, yet I think it is well expressed." 

To Catherine and Lydia, neither the letter nor its 
writer were in any degree interesting. It was next to 
impossible that their cousin should come in a scarlet coat, 
and it was now some weeks since they had received 
pleasure from the society of a man in any other colour. 
As for their mother, Mr. Collins' s letter had done away 
much of her ill-will, and she was preparing to see him 
with a degree of composure, which astonished her husband 
and daughters. 

Mr. Collins was punctual to his time, and was received 
with great politeness by the whole family. Mr. Bennet 
indeed said little ; but the ladies were ready enough to 
talk, and Mr. Collins seemed neither in need of encourage- 
ment, nor inclined to be silent himself. He was a tall, heavy 
looking young man of five and twenty. His air was grave 
and stately, and his manners were very formal. He had 
not been long seated before he complimented Mrs. Bennet 
on having so fine a family of daughters, said he had heard 
much of their beauty, but that, in this instance, fame had 
fallen short of the truth; and added, that he did not 


( 65 ) 

doubt her seeing them all in due time well disposed of in 
marriage. This gallantry was not much to the taste of 
some of his hearers, but Mrs. Bennet, who quarrelled with 
no compliments, answered most readily, 

" You are very kind, sir, I am sure ; and I wish with all 
my heart it may prove so ; for else they will be destitute 
enough. Things are settled so oddly." 

" You allude perhaps to the entail of this estate." 

" Ah ! sir, I do indeed. It is a grievous affair to my 
poor girls, you must confess. Not that I mean to find 
fault with you, for such things I know are all chance in 
this world. There is no knowing how estates will go when 
once they come to be entailed." 

" I am very sensible, madam, of the hardship to my 
fair cousins, — and could say much on the subject, but that 
I am cautious of appearing forward and precipitate. 
But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared 
to admire them. At present I will not say more, but 
perhaps when we are better acquainted " 

He was interrupted by a summons to dinner ; and the 
girls smiled on each other. They were not the only objects 
of Mr. CoUins's admiration. The hall, the dining-room, 
and all its furniture were examined and prised ; and his 
commendation of every thing would have touched Mrs. 
Bennet' s heart, but for the mortifying supposition of his 
viewing it all as his own future property. The dinner too 
in its turn was highly admired ; and he begged to know 
to which of his fair cousins, the excellence of its cookery 
was owing. But here he was set right by Mrs. Bennet, 
who assured him with some asperity that they were very 
well able to keep a good cook, and that her daughters had 
nothing to do in the kitchen. He begged pardon for having 
displeased her. In a softened tone she declared herself 
not at all offended ; but he continued to apologise for 
about a quarter of an hour. 

P. p. F CHAP- 

( 66 ) 


During dinner, Mr. Bennet scarcely spoke at all ; but 
when the servants were withdrawn, he thought it time 
to have some conversation with his guest, and therefore 
started a subject in which he expected him to shine, by- 
observing that he seemed very fortunate in his patroness. 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh's attention to his wishes, and 
consideration for his comfort, appeared very remarkable. 
Mr. Bennet could not have chosen better. Mr. Collins 
was eloquent in her praise. The subject elevated him to 
more than usual solemnity of manner, and with a most 
important aspect he protested that he had never in his 
life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank — such 
affability and condescension, as he had himself experienced 
from Lady Catherine. She had been graciously pleased 
to approve of both the discourses, which he had already 
had the honour of preaching before her. She had also 
asked him twice to dine at Rosings, and had sent for him 
only the Saturday before, to make up her pool of quadrille 
in the evening. Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by 
many people he knew, but he had never seen any thing 
but affability in her. She had always spoken to him as 
she w^ould to any other gentleman ; she made not the 
smallest objection to his joining in the society of the 
neighbourhood, nor to his leaving his parish occasionally 
for a week or two, to visit his relations. She had even 
condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, 
provided he chose with discretion ; and had once paid 
him a visit in his humble parsonage ; where she had 
perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, 
and had even vouchsafed to suggest some herself, — some 
shelves in the closets up stairs." 

" That is all very proper and civil, I am sure," said 
Mrs. Bennet, " and I dare say she is a very agreeable 


( (^ ) 

woman. It is a pity that great ladies in general are not 
more like her. Does she live near you, sir ? " 

" The garden in which stands my humble abode, is 
separated only by a lane from Rosings Park, her lady- 
ship's residence." 

"I think you said she was a widow, sir ? has she any 
family ? " 

" She has one only daughter, the heiress of Rosings, 
and of very extensive property." 

" Ah ! " cried Mrs. Bennet, shaking her head, " then 
she is better off than many girls. And what sort of young 
lady is she ? is she handsome ? " 

" She is a most charming young lady indeed. Lady 
Catherine herself says that in point of true beauty, Miss 
De Bourgh is far superior to the handsomest of her sex ; 
because there is that in her features which marks the 
young woman of distinguished birth. She is unfortun- 
ately of a sickly constitution, which has prevented her 
making that progress in many accomplishments, which 
she could not otherwise have failed of ; as I am informed 
by the lady who superintended her education, and who 
still resides with them. But she is perfectly amiable, 
and x)ften condescends to drive by my humble abode in 
her little phaeton and ponies." 

" Has she been presented ? I do not remember her 
name among the ladies at court." 

" Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents 
her being in town ; and by that means, as I told Lady 
Catherine myself one day, has deprived the British court 
of its brightest ornament. Her ladyship seemed pleased 
>vith the idea, and you may imagine that I am happy 
on every occasion to offer those little delicate compli- 
ments which are alwa\^s acceptable to ladies. I have 
more than once observed to Lady Catherine, that her 
charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that 
the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, 
" rould be adorned by her. — These are the kind of little 

lings which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of 

F 2 attention 

{ fi-s ) 

attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to 

" You judge very properly," said Mr. Bennet, " and it 
is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering 
with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing atten- 
tions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the 
result of previous study ? " 

" They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, 
and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting 
and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be 
adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them 
as unstudied an air as possible." 

Mr. Bennet' s expectations were fully answered. His 
cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened 
to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the 
same time the most resolute composure of countenance, 
and except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring 
no partner in his pleasure. 

By tea-time however the dose had been enough, and 
Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawing- 
room again, and when tea was over, glad to invite him 
to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, 
and a book was produced ; but on beholding it, (for 
every thing announced it to be from a circulating library,) 
he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he 
never read novels. — Kitty stared at him, and Lydia 
exclaimed. — Other books were produced, and after some 
deliberation he chose Fordyce's Sermons. Lydia gaped 
as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very 
monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted 
him with, 

" Do you know, mama, that my uncle Philips talks 
of turning away Richard, and if he does. Colonel Forster 
will hire him. My aunt told me so herself on Saturday. 
I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear more about 
it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from 

Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her 

tongue ; 

( 69 ) 

tongue ; but Mr. Collins, much offended, laid aside his 
book, and said, 

" I have often observed how little^ young ladies are 
interested by books of a serious stamp, though written 
solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I confess ; — for 
certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them 
as instruction. But I will no longer importune my young 

Then turning to Mr. Bennet, he offered himself as his 
antagonist at backgammon. Mr. Bennet accepted the 
challenge, observing that he acted very wisely in leaving 
the girls to their own trifling amusements. Mrs. Bennet 
and her daughters apologised most civilly for Lydia's 
interruption, and promised that it should not occur again, 
if he would resume his book ; but Mr. Collins, after 
assuring them that he bore his young cousin no ill will, 
and should never resent her behaviour as any affront, 
seated himself at another table with Mr. Bennet, and 
prepared for backgammon. 



( 70 ) 


Mr. Collins avrs not a sensible man, and the deficiency 
of nature had been but Httle assisted by education or 
society ; the greatest part of his hfe having been spent 
under the guidance of an illiterate and miserly father ; 
and though he belonged to one of the universities, he had 
merely kept the necessary terms, without forming at it 
any useful acquaintance. The subjection in which his 
father had brought him up, had given him originally great 
humility of manner, but it was now a good deal counter- 
acted by the self-conceit of a weak head, living in retire- 
ment, and the consequential feelings of early and unex- 
pected prosperity. A fortunate chance had recommended 
him to Lady Catherine de Bourgh when the living of 
Hunsford was vacant ; and the respect which he felt for 
her high rank, and his veneration for her as his patroness, 
mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his 
authority as a clergyman, and his rights as a rector, made 
him altogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, 
self-importance and humility. 

Having now a good house and very sufficient income, 
he intended to marry ; and in seeking a reconciliation 
with the Longbourn family he had a wife in view, as he 
meant to chuse one of the daughters, if he found them 
as handsome and amiable as they were represented by 
common report. This was his plan of amends — of atone- 
ment — for inheriting their father's estate ; and he thought 
it an excellent one, full of eligibility and suitableness, 
and excessively generous and disinterested on his own 

His plan did not vary on seeing them. — Miss Bennet's 
lovely face confirmed his views, and established all his 
strictest notions of what was due to seniority ; and for 
the first evening she was his settled choice. The next 



( 71 ) 

morning, however, made an alteration ; for in a quarter 
of an hour's tete-a-tete with Mrs. Bennet before breakfast, 
a conversation beginning with his parsonage-house, and 
leading naturally to the avowal of his hopes, that a mistress 
for it might be found at Longbourn, produced from her, 
amid very complaisant smiles and general encouragement, 
a caution against the very Jane he had fixed on. — " As 
to her younger daughters she could not take upon her to 
say — she could not positively answer — but she did not 
know of any prepossession ; — her eldest daughter, she must 
just mention — she felt it incumbent on her to hint, was 
likely to be very soon engaged." 

Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth — 
and it was soon done — done while Mrs. Bennet was 
stirring the fire. Elizabeth, equally next to Jane in birth 
and beauty, succeeded her of course. 

Mrs. Bennet treasured up the hint, and trusted that she 
might soon have two daughters married ; and the man 
whom she could not bear to speak of the day before, was 
now high in her good graces. 

Lydia's intention of walking to Meryton was not 
forgotten ; every sister except Mary agreed to go with 
her \ and Mr. Collins was to attend them, at the request 
of Mr. Bennet, who was most anxious to get rid of him, 
and have his library to himself ; for thither Mr. Collins 
had followed him after breakfast, and there he would 
continue, nominally engaged with one of the largest folios 
in the collection, but really talking to Mr. Bennet, with 
little cessation, of his house and garden at Hunsford. 
Such doings discomposed Mr. Bennet exceedingly. In his 
library he had been always sure of leisure and tranquillity; 
and though prepared, as he told Elizabeth, to meet with 
folly and conceit in every other room in the house, he was 
used to be free from them there ; his civility, therefore, 
was most prompt in inviting Mr. Collins to join his 
daughters in their walk ; and Mr. Collins, being in fact 
much better fitted for a walker than a reader, was ex- 
tremely well pleased to close his large book, and go. 



( TS ) 

In pompous nothings on his side, and civil assents on 
that of his cousins, their time passed till they entered 
Meryton. The attention of the younger ones was then 
no longer to be gained by him. Their eyes were immedi- 
ately wandering up in the street in quest of the officers, 
and nothing less than a very smart bonnet indeed, or 
a really new muslin in a shop window, could recal them. 

But the attention of every lady was soon caught by 
a young man, whom they had never seen before, of most 
gentlemanlike appearance, walking with an officer on the 
other side of the way. The officer was the very Mr. Denny, 
concerning whose return from London Lydia came to 
inquire, and he bowed as they passed. All were struck 
with the stranger's air, all wondered who he could be, and 
Kitty and Lydia, determined if possible to find out, led 
the way across the street, under pretence of wanting 
something in an opposite shop, and fortunately had just 
gained the pavement when the two gentlemen turning 
back had reached the same spot. Mr. Denny addressed 
them directly, and entreated permission to introduce his 
friend, Mr. Wickham, who had returned with him the day 
before from town, and he was happy to say had accepted 
a commission in their corps. This was exactly as it should 
be ; for the young man wanted only regimentals to make 
him completely charming. His appearance was greatly 
in his favour ; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine 
countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address. 
The introduction was followed up on his side by a happy 
readiness of conversation — a readiness at the same time 
perfectly correct and unassuming ; and the whole party 
were still standing and talking together very agreeably, 
when the sound of horses drew their notice, and Darcy 
and Bingley were seen riding down the street. On dis- 
tinguishing the ladies of the group, the two gentlemen 
came directly towards them, and began the usual civilities. 
Bingley was the principal spokesman, and I\Iiss Bennet the 
principal object. He was then, he said, on his way to 
Loiigbourn on purpose to inquire after her. Mr. Darcy 


( 73 ) 

corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to deter- 
mine not to fix his eyes on Ehzabeth, when they were 
suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger, and 
Ehzabeth happening to see the countenance of both as 
they looked at each other, was all astonishment at the 
effect of the meeting. Both changed colour, one looked 
white, the other red. Mr. Wicl^ham, after a few moments, 
touched his hat — a salutation which Mr. Darcy just 
deigned to return. What could be the meaning of it ? — 
It was impossible to imagine ; it was impossible not to 
long to know. 

In another minute Mr. Bingley, but without seeming 
to have noticed what passed, took leave and rode on with 
his friend. 

Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham walked with the young 
ladies to the door of Mr. Philips's house, and then made 
their bows, in spite of Miss Lydia's pressing entreaties 
that they would come in, and even in spite of Mrs. Philips' 
throwing up the parlour window, and loudly seconding the 

Mrs. Philips was always glad to see her nieces, and the 
two eldest, from their recent absence, were particularly 
welcome, and she was eagerly expressing her surprise at 
their sudden return home, which, as their own carriage 
had not fetched them, she should have known nothing 
about, if she had not happened to see Mr. Jones's shop boy 
in the street, who had told her that they were not to send 
any more draughts to Netherfield because the Miss 
Bennets were come away, when her civility was claimed 
towards Mr. Collins by Jane's introduction of him. She 
received him with her very best politeness, which he 
returned with as much more, apologising for his intrusion, 
without any previous acquaintance with her, which he 
could not help flattering himself however might be justified 
by his relationship to the young ladies who introduced 
him to her notice. Mrs. Philips was quite awed by such 
an excess of good breeding ; but her contemplation of 
one stranger was soon put an end to by exclamations and 


( ^i ) 

inquiries about the other, of whom, however, she could 
only tell her nieces what they already knew, that Mr. 
Denny had brought him from London, and that he was 

to have a lieutenant's commission in the shire. She 

had been watching him the last hour, she said, as he walked 
up and down the street, and had Mr. Wickham appeared 
Kitty and Lj^dia would certainly have continued the 
occupation, but unluckily no one passed the windows 
now except a few of the officers, who in comparison with 
the stranger, were become " stupid, disagreeable fellows." 
Some of them were to dine with the Philipses the next 
day, and their aunt promised to make her husband call 
on Mr. Wickham, and give him an invitation also, if the 
family from Longbourn would come in the evening. This 
was agreed to, and Mrs. Philips protested that they would 
have a nice comfortable noisy game of lottery tickets, and 
a little bit of hot supper afterwards. The prospect of 
such delights was very cheering, and they parted in mutual 
good spirits. Mr. Collins repeated his apologies in quitting 
^ the room, and was assured with unwearying civility that 
the}^ were perfectly needless. 

As they walked home, Elizabeth related to Jane what 
she had seen pass between the two gentlemen ; but though 
Jane would have defended either or both, had they 
appeared to be wrong, she could no more explain such 
behaviour than her sister. 

Mr. Collins on his return highly gratified Mrs. Bennet 
by admiring Mrs. Philips' s manners and politeness. He 
protested that except Lady Catherine and her daughter, 
he had never seen a more elegant woman ; for she had 
not only received him with the utmost civility, but had 
even pointedly included him in her invitation for the next 
evening, although utterly unknown to her before. Some- 
thing he supposed might be attributed to his connection 
with them, but yet he had never met with so much 
attention in the whole course of his life. 



( 75 ) 


As no objection was made to the young people's engage- 
ment with their aunt, and" all Mr. Collins's scruples of 
leaving Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for a single evening during 
his visit were most steadily resisted, the coach conveyed 
him and his five cousins at a suitable hour to Meryton ; 
and the girls had the pleasure of hearing, as they entered 
the drawing-room, that Mr. Wickham had accepted their 
uncle's invitation, and was then in the house. 

When this information was given, and they had all 
taken their seats, Mr. Collins was at leisure to look around 
him and admire, and he was so much struck with the size 
and furniture of the apartment, that he declared he might 
almost have supposed himself in the small summer 
breakfast parlour at Rosings ; a comparison that did not 
at first convey much gratification ; but when Mrs. Philips 
understood from him what Rosings was, and who was its 
proprietor, when she had listened to the description of 
only one of Lady Catherine's drawing-rooms, and found 
that the chimney-piece alone had cost eight hundred 
pounds, she felt all the force of the compliment, and would 
hardly have resented a comparison with the housekeeper's 

In describing to her all the grandeur of Lady Catherine 
and her mansion, with occasional digressions in praise of 
his own humble abode, and the improvements it was 
receiving, he was happily employed until the gentlemen 
joined them ; and he found in Mrs. Philips a very attentive 
listener, whose opinion of his consequence increased with 
what she heard, and who was resolving to retail it all 
among her neighbours as soon as she could. To the girls, 
who could not listen to their cousin, and who had nothing 
to do but to wish for an instrument, and examine their 
own indifferent imitations of china on the mantlepiece, the 



( le ) 

interval of waiting appeared very long. It was over at 
last however. The gentlemen did approach; and when 
Mr. Wickham walked into the room, Elizabeth felt that 
she had neither been seeing him before, nor thinking of him 
since, with the smallest degree of unreasonable admiration. 
The officers of the shire were in general a very credit- 
able, gentlemanlike set, and the best of them were of the 
present party ; but Mr. Wickham was as far beyond them 
all in person, countenance, air, and walk, as they were 
superior to the broad-faced stuffy uncle Philips, breathing 
port wine, who followed them into the room. 

Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost 
every female eye was turned, and Elizabeth was the 
happy woman by whom he finally seated himself ; and 
the agreeable manner in which he immediately fell into 
conversation, though it was only on its being a wet night, 
and on the probability of a rainy season, made her feel 
that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might 
be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker. 

With such rivals for the notice of the fair, as Mr. Wick- 
ham and the officers, Mr. Collins seemed likely to sink 
into insignificance ; to the young ladies he certainly was 
nothing ; but he had still at intervals a kind listener in 
Mrs. Philips, and was, by her watchfulness, most abun- 
dantly supplied with coffee and muffin. 

When the card tables were placed, he had an opportunity 
of obliging her in return, by sitting down to whist. 

" I know little of the game, at present," said he, " but 
I shall be glad to improve myself, for in my situation of 
life " Mrs. Philips was very thankful for his com- 
pliance, but could not wait for his reason. 

Mr. Wickham did not play at whist, and with ready 
delight was he received at the other table between Eliza- 
beth and Lydia. At first there seemed danger of Lydia's 
engrossing him entirely, for she was a most determined 
talker ; but being likewise extremely fond of lottery 
tickets, she soon grew too much interested in the game^ 
too eager in making bets and exclaiming after prizes, to 


( Ti ) 

have attention for any one in particular. Allowing for 
the common demands of the game, Mr. Wickham was 
therefore at leisure to talk to Elizabeth, and she was very 
willing to hear him, though what she chiefly wished to 
hear she could not hope to be told, the history of his 
acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. She dared not even 
mention that gentleman. Her curiosity however was 
unexpectedly relieved. Mr. Wickham began the subject 
himself. He inquired how far Netherfield was from 
Meryton; and, after receiving her answer, asked in an 
hesitating manner how long IMr. Darcy had been staying 

" About a month," said Elizabeth ; and then, unwilling 
to let the subject drop, added, " He is a man of very large 
property in Derbyshire, I understand." 

" Yes," replied Wickham ; — "his estate there is a noble 
one. A clear ten thousand per annum. You could not 
have met with a person more capable of giving you certain 
information on that head than myself — for I have been 
connected with his family in a particular manner from my 

Elizabeth could not but look surprised. 

" You may well be surprised. Miss Bennet, at such an 
assertion, after seeing, as you probably might, the very 
cold manner of our meeting yesterday. — Are you much 
acquainted with Mr. Darcy ? " 

" As much as I ever wish to be," cried Elizabeth 
warmly, — " I have spent four days in the same house 
with him, and I think.him very disagreeable." 

" I have no right to give my opinion," said Wickham, 
" as to his being agreeable or otherwise. I am not qualified 
to form one. I have known him too long and too well to 
be a fair judge. It is impossible for me to be impartial. 
But I believe your opinion of him would in general 
astonish — and perhaps you would not express it quite so 
strongly anywhere else. — Here you are in your own family." 

" Upon my word I say no more here than I might say 
in any house in the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. 


( TO ) 

He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Every body is 
disgusted with his pride. You will not find him more 
favourably spoken of by any one." 

" I cannot pretend to be sorry," said Wickham, after 
a short interruption, " that he or that any man should 
not be estimated beyond their deserts ; but with him 
I believe it does not often happen. The world is blinded 
by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his high 
and imposing manners, and sees him only as he chuses to 
be seen." 

" I should take him, even on my slight acquaintance, 
to be an ill-tempered man." Wickham only shook his 

" I wonder," said he, at the next opportunity of speak- 
ing, " whether he is likely to be in this country much 

" I do not at all know ; but I heard nothing of his going 
away when I was at Netherfield. I hope your plans in 

favour of the shire will not be affected by his being 

in the neighbourhood." 

" Oh ! no — it is not for me to be driven away by 
Mr. Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing 7ne, he must go. 
We are not on friendly terms, and it always gives me pain 
to meet him, but I have no reason for avoiding him 
but what I might proclaim to all the world ; a sense of 
very great ill usage, and most painful regrets at his being 
what he is. His father. Miss Bennet, the late Mr. Darcy, 
was one of the best men that ever breathed, and the truest 
friend I ever had ; and I can never be in company with 
this Mr. Darcy without being grieved to the soul by a 
thousand tender recollections. His behaviour to myself 
has been scandalous ; but I verily believe I could forgive 
him any thing and every thing, rather than his disappoint- 
ing the hopes and disgracing the memory of his father." 

Elizabeth found the interest of the subject increase, and 
listened with all her heart ; but the delicacy of it prevented 
farther inquiry. 

Mr. Wickham began to speak on more general topics, 


( 79 ) 

Meryton, the neighbourhood, the society, appearing highly 
pleased with all that he had yet seen, and speaking of the 
latter especially, with gentle but very inteUigible gallantry. 

" It was the prospect of constant society, and good 
society," he added, " which was my chief inducement to 

enter the shire. I knew it to be a most respectable, 

agreeable corps, and my friend Denny tempted me farther 
by his account of their present quarters, and the very great 
attentions and excellent acquaintance Meryton had pro- 
cured them. Society, I own, is necessary to me. I have 
been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear 
solitude. I must have employment and society. A 
military life is, not what I was intended for, but circum- 
stances have now made it eligible. The church ought to 
have been my profession — I was brought up for the church, 
and I should at this time have been in possession of a most 
valuable living, had it pleased the gentleman we were 
speaking of just now." 

" Indeed I " 

" Yes — the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next 
presentation of the best living in his gift. He was my 
godfather, and excessively attached to me. I cannot do 
justice to his kindness. He meant to provide for me 
amply, and thought he had done it ; but when the living 
fell, it was given elsewhere." 

" Good heavens ! " cried Elizabeth ; " but how could 
that be ? — How could his will be disregarded ? — Why did 
not you sedi legal redress ? " 

" There was just such an informality in the terms of 
the bequest as to give me no hope from law. A man of 
honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr. 
Darcy chose to doubt it — or to treat it as a merely con- 
ditional recommendation, and to assert that I had forfeited 
all claim to it by extravagance, imprudence, in short 
any thing or nothing. Certain it is, that the living became 
vacant two years ago, exactly as I was of an age to hold 
it, and that it was given to another man ; and no less 
certain is it, that I cannot accuse mj^self of having really 



( 80 ) 

done any thing to deserve to lose it. I have a warm, 
unguarded temper, and I may perhaps have sometimes 
spoken my opinion of him, and to him, too freely. I can 
recal nothing worse. But the fact is, that we are very 
different sort of men, and that he hates me." 

" This is quite shocking ! — He deserves to be publicly 

" Some time or other he will be — ^but it shall not be 
by me. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or 
expose hini.^^ 

Elizabeth honoured him for such feelings, and thought 
him handsomer than ever as he expressed them. 

" But what," said she, after a pause, " can have been 
his motive ? — what can have induced him to behave so 
cruelly ? " 

" A thorough, determined dislike of me — a dislike which 
I cannot but attribute in some measure to jealousy. Had 
the late Mr. Darcy liked me less, his son might have borne 
with me better ; but his father's uncommon attachment 
to me, irritated him I believe very early in life. He had 
not a temper to bear the sort of competition in which we 
stood — the sort of preference which was often given me." 

" I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this — though 
I have never liked him, I had not thought so very ill of 
him — I had supposed him to be despising his fellow- 
creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descending 
to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity 
as this!" 

After a few minutes reflection, however, she continued, 
" I do remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of 
the implacability of his resentments, of his having an 
unforgiving temper. His disposition must be dreadful." 

" I will not trust myself on the subject," replied Wick- 
ham, " / can hardly be just to him." 

Elizabeth was again deep in thought, and after a time 
exclaimed, " To treat in such a manner, the godson, the 
friend, the favourite of his father ! " — She could have 
added, " A young man too, like you, whose very coun- 

( 81 ) 

tenance may vouch for your being amiable " — but she 
contented herself with " And one, too, who had probably 
been his own companion from childhood, connected 
together, as I think you said, in the closest manner ! " 

"We were born in the same parish, within the same 
park, the greatest part of our youth was passed together ; 
inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusements, 
objects of the same parental care. My father began life 
in the profession which your uncle, Mr. Philips, appears 
to do so much credit to — but he gave up every thing to 
be of use to the late Mr. Darcy, and devoted all his time 
to the care of the Pemberley property. He was most 
highly esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confi- 
dential friend. Mr. Darcy often acknowledged himself to 
be under the greatest obligations to my father's active 
superintendance, and when immediately before my father's 
death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary promise of provid- 
ing for me, I am convinced that he felt it to be as much 
a debt of gratitude to him, as of affection to myself." 

" How strange ! " cried Elizabeth. " How abomin- 
able ! — I wonder that the very pride of this Mr. Darcy 
has not made him just to you ! — If from no better motive, 
that he should not have been too proud to be dishonest, — 
for dishonesty I must call it." 

" It is wonderful," — replied Wickham, — " for almost 
all his actions may be traced to pride ; — and pride has 
often been his best friend. It has connected him nearer 
with virtue than any other feeling. But we are none of 
us consistent ; and in his behaviour to me, there were 
stronger impulses even than pride." 

" Can such abominable pride as his, have ever done 
him good ? " 

" Yes. It has often led him to be liberal and generous, — 
to give his money freely, to display hospitality, to assist 
his tenants, and relieve the poor. Family pride, and filial 
pride, for he is very proud of what his father was, have 
done this. Not to appear to disgrace his family, to degener- 
ate from the popular qualities, or lose the influence of the 

p- P- G Pemberley 

(82 ) 

Pemberley House, is a powerful motive. He has also 
brotherly pride, which with some brotherly affection, makes 
him a very kind and careful guardian of his sister ; and you 
will hear him generally cried up as the most attentive and 
best of brothers." 

" What sort of a girl is Miss Darcy ? " 

He shook his head. — " I wish I could call her amiable. 
It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy. But she is too 
much like her brother, — very, very proud. — As a child, 
she was affectionate and pleasing, and extremely fond of 
me ; and I have devoted hours and hours to her amuse- 
ment. But she is nothing to me now. She is a handsome 
girl, about fifteen or sixteen, and I understand highly 
accomplished. Since her father's death, her home has 
been London, whe;^ a lady lives with her, and superintends 
her education." V 

After many pauses and many trials of other subjects, 
Elizabeth could not help reverting once more to the first, 
and saying, 

" I am astonished at his intimacy with Mr. Bingley ! 
How can Mr. Bingley, who seems good humour itself, and 
is, I really believe, truly amiable, be in friendship with 
such a man ? How can they suit each other ? — Do you 
know Mr. Bingley ? " 

" Not at all." 

" He is a sweet tempered, amiable, charming man. 
He cannot know what Mr. Darcy is." 

" Probably not ; — but Mr. Darcy can please where he 
chuses. He does not want abilities. He can be a con- 
versible companion if he thinks it worth his while. Among 
those who are at all his equals in consequence, he is a very 
different man from what he is to the less prosperous. 
His pride never deserts him ; but with the rich, he is 
liberal-minded, just, sincere, rational, honourable, and 
perhaps agreeable, — allowing something for fortune and 
figure." . M 

The whist party soon afterwards breaking up, the player^ 
gathered round the oth©r table, and Mr. Collins took his 


( 83 ) 

station between his cousin Elizabeth and Mrs. PhiHps. — 
The usual inquiries as to his success were made by the latter. 
It had not been very great ; he had lost every point ; 
but when Mrs. Philips began to express her concern there- 
upon, he assured her with much earnest gravity that it 
was not of the least importance, that he considered the 
money as a mere trifle, and begged she would not make 
herself uneasy. 

" I know very well, madam," said he, " that when 
persons sit down to a card table, they must take their 
chance of these things, — and happily I am not in such 
circumstances as to make five shillings any object. There 
are undoubtedly many who could not say the same, but 
thanks to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I am removed far 
beyond the necessity of regarding little matters." 

Mr. Wickham's attention was caught ; and after observ- 
ing Mr. Collins for a few moments, he asked Elizabeth in 
a low voice whether her relation were very intimately 
acquainted with the family of de Bourgh. 

" Lady Catherine de Bourgh," she replied, " has very 
lately given him a living. I hardly know how Mr. Collins 
was first introduced to her notice, but he certainly has 
not known her long." 

'^You know of course that Lady Catherine de Bourgh 
and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters ; consequently that 
she is aunt to the present Mr. Darcy." 

" No, indeed, I did not. — I knew nothing at all of Lady 
Catherine's connections. I never heard of her existence 
till the day before yesterday." 

" Her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, will have a very large 
fortune, and it is believed that she and her cousin will 
unite the two estates." 

This information made Elizabeth smile, as she thought 
of poor Miss Bingley. Vain indeed must be all her atten- 
tions, vain and useless her affection for his sister and her 
praise of himself, if he were already self-destined to 

" Mr. Collins," said she, " speaks highly both of Lady 

G 2 Catherine 

( 84 ) 

Catherine and her daughter ; but from some particulars 
that he has related of her ladyship, I suspect his gratitude 
misleads him, and that in spite pf her being his patroness, 
she is an arrogant, conceited woman." 

" I beheve her to be both in a great degree," replied 
Wickham ; "I have not seen her for many years, but 
I very well remember that I never liked her, and that 
her manners were dictatorial and insolent. She has the 
reputation of being remarkably sensible and clever ; but 
I rather believe she derives part of her abilities from her 
rank and fortune, part from her authoritative manner, 
and the rest from the pride of her nephew, who chuses 
that every one connected with him should have an under- 
standing of the first class." 

Elizabeth allowed that he had given a very rational 
account of it, and they continued talking together with 
mutual satisfaction till supper put an end to cards ; and 
gave the rest of the ladies their share of Mr. Wickham's 
attentions. There could be no conversation in the noise 
of Mrs. Philips's supper party, but his manners recom- 
mended him to every body. Whatever he said, was said 
well ; and whatever he did, done gracefully. Elizabeth 
went away with her head full of him. She could think of 
nothing: but of Mr. Wickham, and of what he had told her, 
all the way home ; but there was not time for her even 
to mention his name as they went, for neither Lydia nor 
Mr. Collins were once silent. Lydia talked incessantly of 
lottery tickets, of the fish she had lost and the fish she had 
won, and Mr. Collins, in describing the civility of Mr. and 
Mrs. Philips, protesting that he did not in the least regard 
his losses at whist, enumerating all the dishes at supper, 
and repeatedly fearing that he crouded his cousins, had 
more to say than he could well manage before the carriage 
stopped at Longbourn House. 


( 85 ) 


Elizabeth related to Jane the next day, what had 
passed between Mr. Wickham and herself. Jane listened 
with astonishment and concern ; — she knew not how to 
believe that Mr. Darcy could be so unworthy of Mr. 
Bingley's regard ; and yet, it was not in her nature to 
question the veracity of a young man of such amiable 
appearance as Wickham. — The possibility of his having 
really endured such unkindness, was enough to interest 
all her tender feelings ; and nothing therefore remained 
to be done, but to think well of them both, to defend the 
conduct of each, and throw into the account of accident 
or mistake, whatever could not be otherwise explained. 

" They have both," said she, " been deceived, I dare 
say, in some way or other, of which we can form no idea. 
Interested people have perhaps misrepresented each to 
the other. It is, in short, impossible for us to conjecture 
the causes or circumstances which may have alienated 
them, without actual blame on either side." 

" Very true, indeed ; — and now, my dear Jane, what 
have you got to say in behalf of the interested people 
who have probably been concerned in the business ? — 
Do clear them too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of 

" Laugh as much as you chuse, but you will not laugh 
me out of my opinion. My dearest Lizzy, do but con- 
sider in what a disgraceful light it places Mr. Darcy, to be 
treating his father's favourite in such a manner, — one, 
whom his father had promised to provide for. — It is im- 
possible. No man of common humanity, no man who had 
any value for his character, could be capable of it. Can 
his most intimate friends be so excessively deceived in 
him? oh! no." 

" I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley's being 



( 86 ) 

imposed on, than that Mr. Wickham -should invent such 
a history of himself as he gave me last night; names, 
facts, every thing mentioned without ceremony. — If it be 
not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. Besides, there was 
truth in his looks." 

" It is difficult indeed — it is distressing. — One does not 
know what to think." 

" I beg your pardon ; — one knows exactly what to 

But Jane could think with certainty on only one 
point, — that Mr. Bingley, if he liad been imposed on, 
would have much to suffer when the affair became public. 

The two young ladies were summoned from the shrub- 
bery where this conversation passed, by the arrival of 
some of the very persons of whom they had been speaking ; 
Mr. Bingley and his sisters came to give their personal 
invitation for the long expected ball at Netherfield, which 
was fixed for the following Tuesday. The two ladies were 
delighted to see their dear friend again, called it an age 
since they had met, and repeatedly asked what she had 
been doing with herself since their separation. To the rest 
of the family they paid little attention ; avoiding Mrs. 
Bennet as much as possible, saying not much to Elizabeth, 
and nothing at all to the others. They were soon gone 
again, rising from their seats with an activity which took 
their brother by surprise, and hurrying off as if eager 
to escape from Mrs. Bennet's civilities. 

The prospect of the Netherfield ball was extremely 
agreeable to every female of the family. Mrs. Bennet 
chose to consider it as given in compliment to her eldest 
daughter, and was particularly flattered by receiving the 
invitation from Mr. Bingley himself, instead of a cere- 
monious card. Jane pictured to herself a happy evening 
in the society of her two friends, and the attentions of their 
brother ; and Elizabeth thought with pleasure of dancing 
a great deal with Mr. Wickham, and of seeing a confirma- 
tion of every thing in Mr. Darcy's looks and behaviour. 
The happiness anticipated by Catherine and Lydia, 


( 87 ) 

depended less on any single event, or any particular 
person, for though they each, like EHzabeth, meant to 
dance half the evening with Mr. Wickham, he was by no 
means the only partner who could satisfy them, and a ball 
was at any rate, a ball. And even Mary could assure her 
family that she had no disinclination for it. 

" While I can have my mornings to myself," said she, 
"it is enough. — I think it no sacrifice to join occasionally 
in evening engagements. Society has claims on us all ; 
and I profess myself one of those who consider intervals 
of recreation and amusement as desirable for every body." 

Elizabeth's spirits were so high on the occasion, that 
though she did not often speak unnecessarily to Mr. Collins, 
she could not help asking him whether he intended to 
accept Mr. Bingley's invitation, and if he did, whether 
he would think it proper to join in the evening's amuse- 
ment ; and she was rather surprised to find that he enter- 
tained no scruple whatever on that head, and was very 
far from dreading a rebuke either from the Archbishop, 
or Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by venturing to dance. 

" I am by no means of opinion, I assure you," said he, 
" that a ball of this kind, given by a young man of charac- 
ter, to respectable people, can have any evil tendency ; 
and I am so far from objecting to dancing myself that 
I shall hope to be honoured with the hands of all my fair 
cousins in the course of the evening, and I take this oppor- 
tunity of soliciting yours, Miss Elizabeth, for the two first 
dances especially, — a preference which I trust my cousin 
Jane will attribute to the right cause, and not to any 
disrespect for her." 

Elizabeth felt herself completely taken in. She had 
fully proposed being engaged by Wickham for those 
very dances : — and to have Mr. Collins instead ! her liveli- 
ness had been never worse timed. There was no help for 
it however. Mr. Wickham's happiness and her own was 
per force delayed a little longer, and Mr. Collins's proposal 
accepted with as good a grace as she could. She was not 
the better pleased with his gallantry, from the idea it 


( 88 ) 

suggested of something more.— It now first struck her, 
that she was selected from among her sisters as worthy 
of being the mistress of Hunsford Parsonage, and of 
assisting to form a quadrille table at Rosings, in the 
absence of more eligible visitors. The idea soon reached 
to conviction, as she observed his increasing civilities 
toward herself, and heard his frequent attempt at a com- 
pliment on her wit and vivacity ; and though more aston- 
ished than gratified herself, by this effect of her charms, 
it was not long before her mother gave her to understand 
that the probability of their marriage was exceedingly 
agreeable to lier, Elizabeth however did not chuse to take 
the hint, being well aware that a serious dispute must be 
the consequence of any reply. Mr. Collins might never 
make the offer, and till he did, it was useless to quarrel 
about him. 

If there had not been a Netherfield ball to prepare for 
and talk of, the younger Miss Bennets wpuld have been 
in a pitiable state at this time, for from the day of the 
invitation, to the day of the ball, there was such a succes- 
sion of rain as prevented their walking to Meryton once. 
No aunt, no officers, no news could be sought after ; — the 
very shoe-roses for Netherfield were got by proxy. Even 
Elizabeth might have found some trial of her patience 
in weather, which totally suspended the improvement of 
her acquaintance with Mr. Wickham ; and nothing less 
than a dance on Tuesday, could have made such a Friday, 
Saturday, Sunday and Monday, endurable to Kitty and 


( 89 ) 


Till Elizabeth entered the drawing-room at Netherfield 
and looked in vain for Mr. Wickham among the cluster 
of red coats there assembled, a doubt of his being present 
had never occurred to her. The certainty of meeting him 
had not been checked by any of those recollections that 
might not unreasonably have alarmed her. She had 
dressed with more than usual care, and prepared in the 
highest spirits for the conquest of all that remained 
unsubdued of his heart, trusting that it was not more 
than might be won in the course of the evening. But 
in an instant arose the dreadful suspicion of his being 
purposely omitted for Mr. Darcy's pleasure in the Bingleys' 
invitation to the officers ; and though this was not exactly 
the case, the absolute fact of his absence was pronounced 
by his friend Mr. Denny, to whom Lydia eagerly applied, 
and who told them that Wickham had been obliged to go 
to town on business the day before, and was not yet 
returned ; adding, with a significant smile, 

" I do not imagine his business would have called him 
away just now, if he had not wished to avoid a certain 
gentleman here." 

This part of his intelligence, though unheard by Lydia, 
was caught by Elizabeth, and as it assured her that Darcy 
was not less answerable for Wickham's absence than if her 
first surmise had been just, every feeling of displeasure 
against the former was so sharpened by immediate dis- 
appointment, that she could hardly reply with tolerable 
civility to the polite inquiries which he directly afterwards 
approached to make. — Attention, forbearance, patience 
with Darcy, was injury to Wickham. She was resolved 
against any sort of conversation with him, and turned 
away with a degree of ill humour, which she could not 


( 90 ) 

wholly surmount even in speaking to Mr. Bingley, whose 
blind partiality provoked her. 
j But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour ; and 

though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the 
evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits ; and 
having told all her griefs to Charlotte Lucas, whom she 
had not seen for a week, she was soon able to make a 
voluntary transition to the oddities of her cousin, and 
to point him out to her particular notice.^ The two first 
dances, however, brought a return of distn^ss ; they were 
dances of mortification. Mr. Collins, awkward and solemn, 
apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong 
without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and 
misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances 
can give. The moment of her release from him was exstacy. 

She danced next with an officer, and had the refresh- 
ment of talking of Wickham, and of hearing that he was 
universally liked. When those dances were over she 
returned to Charlotte Lucas, and was in conversation 
with her, when she found herself suddenly addressed by 
Mr. Darcy, who took her so much by surprise in his 
application for her hand, that, without knowing what she 
did, she accepted him. He walked away again immedi- 
ately, and she was left to fret over her own want of presence 
of mind ; Charlotte tried to console her. 

1 "I dare say you will find him very agreeable." 

" Heaven forbid ! — ThM would be the greatest mis- 
fortune of all ! — ^To find a man agreeable whom one is 
determined to hate ! — Do not wish me such an evil." 

When the dancing recommenced, however, and Darcy 
approached to claim her hand, Charlotte could not help 
cautioning her in a whisper not to be a simpleton and 
allow her fancy for Wickham to make her appear un- 
pleasant in the eyes of a man of ten times his consequence. 
Elizabeth made no answer, and took her place in the set, 
amazed at the dignity to which she was arrived in being 
allowed to stand opposite to Mr. Darcy, and reading in her 
neighbours' looks their equal amazement in beholding it. 


( 91 ) 

They stood for some time without speaking a word ; and 
she began to imagine that their silence was to last through 
the two dances, and at first was resolved not to break it ; 
till suddenly fancying that it would be the greater punish- 
ment to her partner to oblige him to talk, she made some 
slight observation on the dance. He replied, and was 
again silent. After a pause of "some minutes she addressed 
him a second time with 

"It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. — 
/ talked about the dance, and you ought to make some 
kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number 
of couples." 

He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished 
him to say should be said. 

" Very well. — That reply will do for the present. — 
Perhaps by and bye I may observe that private balls are 
nmch pleasanter than public ones. — But now we may be 

" Do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing ? " 

" Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It 
would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour 
together, and yet for the advantage of some, conversation 
ought to be so arranged as that they may have the trouble 
of saying as little as possible." 

" Are you consulting your own feelings in the present 
ease, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine ? " 

*' Both," replied Elizabeth archly ; " for I have always 
seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. — Wc are 
each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to 
speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze 
the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with 
all the eclat of a proverb." 

" This is no very striking resemblance of your own 
character, I am sure," said he. " How near it may be 
to mine, I cannot pretend to say. — You think it a faithful 
portrait undoubtedly." 

" I must not decide on my own performance." 

He made no answer, and they were again silent till they 


( 92 ) 

had gone down the dance, when he asked her if she and 
her sisters did not very often walk to Meryton. She 
answered in the affirmative, and, unable to resist the 
temptation, added, " When you met us there the other 
day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance." 

The effect was immediate. A deeper shade of hauteur 
overspread his features, but he said not a word, and 
Elizabeth, though blaming herself for her own weakness, 
could not go on. At length Darcy spoke, and in a con- 
strained manner said, 

" Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners as 
may ensure his making friends — whether he may be equally 
capable of retaining them, is less certain." 

" He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship," 
replied Elizabeth with emphasis, " and in a manner which 
he is likely to suffer from all his life." 

Darcy made no answer, and seemed desirous of changing 
the subject. At that moment Sir William Lucas appeared 
close to them, meaning to pass through the set to the other 
side of the room ; but on perceiving Mr. Darcy he stopt 
with a bow of superior courtesy to compliment him on 
his dancing and his partner. 

" I have been most highly gratified indeed, my dear Sir. 
Such very superior dancing is not often seen. It is evident 
that you belong to the first circles. Allow me to say, 
however, that your fair partner does not disgrace you, 
and that I must hope to have this pleasure often repeated, 
especially when a certain desirable event, my dear Miss 
Eliza, (glancing at her sister and Bingley,) shall take place. 
What congratulations will then flow in ! I appeal to 
Mr, Darcy : — but let me not interrupt you, Sir. — You will 
not thank me for detaining you from the bewitching 
converse of that young lady, whose bright eyes are also 
upbraiding me." 

The latter part of this address was scarcely heard by 
Darcy ; but Sir William's allusion to his friend seemed to 
strike him forcibly, and his eyes were directed with a very 
serious expression towards Bingley and Jane, who were 


( 93 ) 

lancing together. Recovering himself, however, shortly, 
he turned to his partner, and said, 

" Sir William's interruption has made me forget what 
we were talking of." 

" I do not think we were speaking at all. Sir WiUiam 
could not have interrupted any two people in the room 
who had less to say for themselves. — We have tried two 
or three subjects already without success, and what we 
are to talk of next I cannot imagine." 

" What think you of books ? " said he, smiHng. 

" Books — Oh ! no. — I am sure we never read the same, 
or not with the same feelings." 

" I am sorry you think so ; but if that be the case, 
there can at least be no want of subject. — We may 
compare our different opinions." 

" No — I cannot talk of books in a ball-room ; my head 
is always full of something else." 

" The present always occupies you in such scenes — does 
it ? " said he, with a look of doubt. 

" Yes, always," she replied, without knowing what she 
said, for her thoughts had wandered far from the subject, 
as soon afterwards appeared by her suddenly exclaiming, 
" I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcj^ that you 
hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created 
was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, 
as to its being created.''' 

" I am," said he, with a firm voice. 

" And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice ? " 

" I hope not." 
• "It is particularly incumbent on those who never change 
their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first." 

" May I ask to what these questions tend ? " 

" Merely to the illustration of your character," said she, 
endeavouring to shake off her gravity. " I am trying to 
make it out." 

" And what is your success ? " 

She shook her head. " I do not get on at all. I hear 
such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly." 


( 94 ) 

" I can readily believe," answered he gravely, " that 
report may vary greatly with respect to me ; and I could 
wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my 
character at the present moment, as there is reason to 
fear that the performance would reflect no credit on 

" But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never 
have another opportunity." 

" I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours," 
he coldly replied. She said no more, and they went down 
the other dance and parted in silence ; on each side 
dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy's 
1 breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, 
which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger 
against another. 

They had not long separated when Miss Bingley came 
towards her, and with an expression of civil disdain thus 
accosted her, 

" So, Miss Eliza, I hear you are quite delighted with 
George Wickham ! — Your sister has been talking to me 
about him, and asking me a thousand questions ; and 
I find that the young man forgot to tell you, among his 
other communications, that he was the son of old Wickham, 
the late Mr. Darcy's steward. Let me recommend you, 
however, as a friend, not to give implicit confidence to all 
his assertions ; for as to Mr. Darcy's using him ill, it is 
perfectly false ; for, on the contrary, he has been always 
remarkably kind to him, though George Wickham has 
treated Mr. Darcy in a most infamous manner. I do not 
know the particulars, but I know very well that Mr. Darcy 
is not in the least to blame, that he cannot bear to hear 
George Wickham mentioned, and that though my brother 
thought he could not well avoid including him in his 
invitation to the officers, he was excessively glad to find 
that he had taken himself out of the way. His coming 
into the country at all, is a most insolent thing indeed, 
and I wonder how he could presume to do it. I pity you. 
Miss Eliza, for this discovery of your favourite's guilt ; 



( 95 ) 


hut really considering his descent, one could not expect 
much better." 

" His guilt and his descent appear by your account to 
be the same," said Elizabeth angrily ; " f or I have heard 
you accuse him of nothing worse than of being the son 
of Mr. Darcy's steward, and of that, I can assure you, he 
informed me himself." 

" I beg your pardon," replied Miss Bingley, turning 
away with a sneer. " Excuse my interference. — It was 
kindly meant." 

" Insolent girl ! " said Elizabeth to herself. — " You are 
much mistaken if you expect to influence me by such 
a paltry attack as this. I see nothing in it but your own 
wilful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy." She then 
sought her eldest sister, who had undertaken to make 
inquiries on the same subject of Bingley. Jane met her 
with a smile of such sweet complacency, a glow of such 
happy expression, as sufficiently marked how well she was 
satisfied with the occurrences of the evening. — Elizabeth 
instantly read her feelings, and at that moment solicitude 
for Wickham, resentment against his enemies, and every 
^ thing else gave way before the hope of Jane's being in the 
i fairest way for happiness. 

" I want to know," said she, with a countenance no 
less smiling than her sister's, " what you have learnt 
about Mr. Wickham. But perhaps you have been too 
pleasantly engaged to think of any third person ; in which 
case you may be sure of my pardon." 

" No," replied Jane, " I have not forgotten him ; but 
I have nothing satisfactory to tell you. Mr. Bingley does 
not know the whole of his history, and is quite ignorant 
of the circumstances which have principally offended 
Mr. Darcy ; but he will vouch for the good conduct, the 
probity and honour of his friend, and is perfectly convinced 
that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less attention from 
Mr. Darcy than he has received ; and I am sorry to say 
that by his account as well as his sister's, Mr. Wickham 
is by no means a respectable young man. I am afraid 


( 96 ) 

he has been very imprudent, and has deserved to lose 
Mr. Darcy's regard." 

" Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself ? " 

" No ; he never saw him till the other morning at 

" This account then is what he has received from 
Mr. Darcy. I am perfectly satisfied. But what does he 
say of the living ? " 

" He does not exactly recollect the circumstances, 
though he has heard them from Mr. Darcy more than 
once, but he believes that it was left to him conditionally 

" I have not a doubt of Mr. Bingley's sincerity," said 
Elizabeth warmly ; " but you must excuse my not being 
convinced by assurances only. Mr. Bingley's defence of 
his friend was a very able one I dare say, but since he 
is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has 
learnt the rest from that friend himself, I shall venture 
still to think of both gentlemen as I did before." 

She then changed the discourse to one more gratifying 
to each, and on which there could be no difference of 
sentiment. Elizabeth listened with delight to the happy, 
though modest hopes which Jane entertained of Bingley's 
regard, and said all in her power to heighten her con- 
fidence in it. On their being joined by Mr. Bingley 
himself, Elizabeth withdrew to Miss Lucas ; to whose 
inquiry after the pleasantness of her last partner she had 
scarcely replied, before Mr. Collins came up to them and 
told her with great exultation that he had just been so 
fortunate as to make a most important discovery. 

" I have found out," said he, " by a singular accident, 
that there is now in the room a near relation of my 
patroness. I happened to overhear the gentleman himself 
mentioning to the young lady who does the honours of 
this house the names of his cousin Miss de Bourgh, and of 
her mother Lady Catherine. How wonderfully these sorb 
of things occur ! Who would have thought of my meeting 
with — perhaps — a nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh 


( 97 ) 

m this assembly ! — I am most thankful that the discovery 
is made in time for me to pay my respects to him, which 
I am now going to do, and trust he will excuse my not 
having done it before. My total ignorance of the con- 
nection must plead my apology." 

" You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. 
Darcy ? " 

" Indeed I am. I shall intreat his pardon for not 
having done it earlier. I believe him to be Lady Catherine's 
nephew. It will be in my power to assure him that her 
ladyship was quite well yesterday se*nnight." 

Elizabeth tried hard to dissuade him from such a 
scheme ; assuring him that Mr Darcy would consider his 
addressing him without introduction as an impertinent 
freedom, rather than a compliment to his aunt ; that it 
was not in the least necessary there should be any notice 
on either side, and that if it were, it must belong to 
Mr. Darcy, the superior in consequence, to begin the 
acquaintance. — Mr. Collins listened to her with the deter- 
mined air of following his own inclination, and when she 
ceased speaking, replied thus, 

" My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion 
in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters 
within the scope of your understanding, but permit me 
to say that there must be a wide difference between the 
established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those 
which regulate the clergy ; for give me leave to observe 
that I consider the clerical office as equal in point of 
dignity with the highest rank in the kingdom — provided 
that a proper humility of behaviour is at the same time 
maintained. You must therefore allow me to follow the 
dictates of my conscience on this occasion, which leads 
me to perform what I look on as a point of duty. Pardon 
me for neglecting to profit by your advice, which on every 
other subject shall be my constant guide, though in the 
case before us I consider myself more fitted by education 
and habitual study to decide on what is right than a young 
lady like yourself." And with a low bow he left her to 

*'•«'. H attack 

( 98 ) 

attack Mr. Darcy, whose receiDtion of his advances she 
eagerly watched, and whose astonishment at being so 
addressed was very evident. Her cousin prefaced his 
speech with a solemn bow, and though she could not hear 
a word of it, she felt as if hearing it all, and saw in the 
motion of his lips the words " apology," " Hunsford," and 
" Lady Catherine de Bourgh." — It vexed her to see him 
expose himself to such a man. Mr. Darcy was ej'^eing him 
with unrestrained wonder, and when at last Mr. Collins 
allowed him time to speak, replied with an air of distant 
civility. Mr. Collins, however, was not discouraged from 
speaking again, and Mr. Darcy's contempt seemed abun- 
dantly increasing with the length of his second speech, 
and at the end of it he only made him a slight bow, 
and moved another way. Mr. Collins then returned to 

" I have no reason, I assure you," said he, " to be 
dissatisfied with my reception. Mr. Darcy seemed much 
pleased with the attention. He answered me with the 
utmost civility, and even paid me the compliment of 
saying, that he was so well convinced of Lady Catherine's 
discernment as to be certain she could never bestow 
a favour unworthily. It was really a very handsome 
thought. Upon the whole, I am much pleased with him." 

As Elizabeth had no longer any interest of her own to 
pursue, she turned her attention almost entirely on her 
sister and Mr. Bingley, and the train of agreeable reflec- 
tions which her observations gave birth to, made her 
perhaps almost as happy as Jane. She saw her in idea 
settled in that very house in all the felicity which a mar- 
riage of true affection could bestow ; and she felt capable 
under such circumstances, of endeavouring even to like 
Bingley's two sisters. Her mother's thoughts she plainly 
saw were bent the same way, and she determined not to 
venture near her, lest she might hear too much. When they 
sat down to supper, therefore, she considered it a most 
unlucky perverseness which placed them within one of 
each other; and deeply was she vexed to find that her 


( 99 ) 

mother was talking to that one person (Lady Lucas) 
freely, openly, and of nothing else but of her expectation 
that Jane would be soon married to Mr. Bingley. — It was 
an animating subject, and Mrs. Bennet seemed incapable 
of fatigue while enumerating the advantages of the match. 
His being such a charming young man, and so rich, and 
living but three miles from them, were the first points 
of self-gratulation ; and then it was such a comfort to 
think how fond the two sisters were of Jane, and to be 
certain that they must desire the connection as much as 
she could do. It was, moreover, such a promising thing for 
her younger daughters, as Jane's marrying so greatly 
must throw them in the way of other rich men ; and 
lastly, it was so pleasant at her time of life to be able to 
consign her single daughters to the care of their sister, 
that she might not be obliged to go into company more 
than she liked. It was necessary to make this circum- 
stance a matter of pleasure, because on such occasions 
it is the etiquette ; but no one was less likely than 
Mrs. Bennet to find comfort in staying at home at any period 
of her life. She concluded with many good wishes that 
Lady Lucas might soon be equally fortunate, though 
evidently and triumphantly believing there was no chance 
of it; 

In vain did Elizabeth endeavour to check the rapidity 
of her mother's words, or persuade her to describe her 
felicity in a less audible whisper ; for to her inexpres- 
sible vexation, she could perceive that the chief of it 
was overheard by Mr. Darcy, who sat opposite to them. 
Her mother only scolded her for being nonsensical. 

" What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be 
afraid of him ? I am sure we owe him no such particular 
civility as to be obliged to say nothing he may not like 
to hear." 

" For heaven's sake, madam, speak lower. — What 
advantage can it be to you to offend Mr. Darcy ? — You 
will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing." 

Nothing that she could say, however, had any influence. 

H 2 Her 

( 100 ) 

Her mother would talk of her views in the same intelligible 
tone. Elizabeth blushed and blushed again with shame 
and vexation. She could not help frequently glancing her 
eye at Mr. Darcy, though every glance convinced her of 
what she dreaded ; for though he was not always looking 
at her mother, she was convinced that his attention was 
invariably fixed by her. The expression of his face changed 
gradually from indignant contempt to a composed and 
steady gravity.^ 

At length however Mrs. Bennet had no more to say ; 
and Lady Lucas, who had been long yawning at the 
repetition of delights which she saw no likelihood of 
sharing, was left to the comforts of cold ham and chicken. 
Elizabeth now began to revive. But not long was the 
interval of tranquillity ; for when supper was over, singing 
was talked of, and she had the mortification of seeing 
Mary, after very little entreaty, preparing to oblige the 
company. By many significant looks and silent entreaties, 
did she endeavour to prevent such a proof of complaisance, 
' — ^but in vain ; Mary would not understand them ; such 
an opportunity of exhibiting was delightful to her, and 
she began her song. Elizabeth's eyes were fixed on her 
with most painful sensations ; and she watched her progress 
through the several stanzas with an impatience which was 
very ill rewarded at their close ; for Mary, on receiving 
amongst the thanks of the table, the hint of a hope that 
she might be prevailed on to favour them again, after the 
pause of half a minute began another. Mary's powers 
were by no means fitted for such a display ; her voice 
was weak, and her manner affected. — Elizabeth was in 
agonies. She looked at Jane, to see how she bore it ; but 
Jane was very composedly talking to Bingley. She looked 
at his two sisters, and saw them making signs of derision 
at each other, and at Darcy, who continued however 
impenetrably grave. She looked at her father to entreat 
his interference, lest Mary should be singing all night. 
He took the hint, and when Mary had finished her second 
song, said aloud, 


( 101 ) 

" That will do extremely well, child. You have delighted 
us long enough. Let the other young ladies have time 
to exhibit." 

Mary, though pretending not to hear, was somewhat 
disconcerted ; and Elizabeth sorry for her, and sorry for 
her father's speech, was afraid her anxiety had done no 
good. — Others of the party were now applied to. 

" If I," said Mr. Collins, " were so fortunate as to be 
able to sing, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in 
obliging the company with an air ; for I consider music 
as a very innocent diversion, and perfectly compatible 
with the profession of a clergyman. — I do not mean how- 
ever to assert that we can be justified in devoting too much 
of our time to music, for there are certainly other things 
to be attended to. The rector of a parish has much to do. — 
In the first place, he must make such an agreement for 
tythes as may be beneficial to himself and not offensive 
to his patron. He must write his own sermons ; and the 
time that remains will not be too much for his parish 
duties, and the care and improvement of his dwelling, 
which he cannot be excused from making as comfortable 
as possible. And I do not think it of light importance that 
he should have attentive and conciliatory manners towards 
every body, especially towards those to whom he owes 
his preferment. I cannot acquit him of that duty ; nor 
could I think w^ell of the man who should omit an occasion 
of testifying his respect towards any body connected with 
the family." And with a bow to Mr. Darcy, he concluded 
his speech, which had been spoken so loud as to be heard 
by half the room. — Many stared. — Many smiled ; but no 
one looked more amused than Mr. Bennet himself, while 
his wife seriously commended Mr. Collins for having spoken 
so sensibly, and observed in a half-whisper to Lady Lucas, 
that he was a remarkably clever, good kind of young man. 

To Elizabeth it appeared, that had her family made 
an agreement to expose themselves as much as they 
could during the evening, it would have been impossible 
for them to play their parts with more spirit, or finqr 

success ; 

( 102 ) 

success ; and happy did she think it for Bingley and her 
sister that some of the exhibition had escaped his notice, 
and that his feehngs were not of a sort to be much dis- 
tressed by the folly which he must have witnessed. That 
his two sisters and Mr. Darcy, however, should have such 
an opportunity of ridiculing her relations was bad enough, 
and she could not determine whether the silent contempt 
of the gentleman, or the insolent smiles of the ladies, were 
more intolerable. 

The rest of the evening brought her little amusement. 
She was teazed by Mr. Collins, who continued most per- 
severingly by her side, and though he could not prevail 
with her to dance with him again, put it out of her power 
to dance with others. In vain did she entreat him to stand 
up with somebody else, and offer to introduce him to any 
young lady in the room. He assured her that as to dancing, 
he was perfectly indifferent to it ; that his chief object 
was by delicate attentions to recommend himself to her, 
and that he should therefore make a point of remaining 
close to her the whole evening. There was no arguing 
upon such a project. She owed her greatest relief to her 
friend Miss Lucas, who often joined them, and good- 
naturedly engaged Mr. Collins's conversation to herself. 

She was at least free from the offence of Mr. Darcy's 
farther notice ; though often standing within a very short 
distance of her, quite disengaged, he never came near 
enough to speak. She felt it to be the probable conse- 
quence of her allusions to Mr. Wickham, and rejoiced in it. 

The Longbourn party were the last of all the company 
to depart ; and by a manoeuvre of Mrs. Bennet had to 
wait for their carriages a quarter of an hour after every 
body else was gone, which gave them time to see how 
heartily they were wished away by some of the family. 
Mrs. Hurst and her sister scarcely opened their mouths 
except to complain of fatigue, and were evidently impatient 
to have the house to themselves. They repulsed every 
attempt of Mrs. Bennet at conversation, and by so doing, 
threw a languor over the whole party, which was very 


( 103 ) 

little relieved by the long speeches of Mr. Collins, who was 
complimenting Mr. Bingley and his sisters on the elegance 
of their entertainment, and the hospitality and politeness 
which had marked their behaviour to their guests. Darcy 
said nothing at all. Mr. Bennet, in equal silence, was 
enjoying the scene. Mr. Bingley and Jane were standing 
together, a little detached from the rest, and talked only 
to each other. Elizabeth preserved as steady a silence as 
either Mrs. Hurst or Miss Bingley ; and even Lydia was 
too much fatigued to utter more than the occasional 
exclamation of " Lord, how tired I am ! " accompanied 
by a violent yawn. 

When at length they arose to take leave, Mrs. Bennet 
w^as most pressingly civil in her hope of seeing the whole 
family soon at Longbourn ; and addressed herself parti- 
cularly to Mr. Bingley, to assure him how happy he would 
make them, by eating a family dinner with them at any 
time, without the ceremony of a formal invitation. Bingley 
was all grateful pleasure, and he readily engaged for taking 
the earliest opportunity of waiting on her, after his return 
from London, whither he was obliged to go the next day 
for a short time. 

Mrs. Bennet was perfectly satisfied ; and quitted the 
house under the delightful persuasion that, allowing for 
the necessary preparations of settlements, new carriages 
and wedding clothes, she should undoubtedly see her 
daughter settled at Nether field, in the course of three or 
four months. Of having another daughter married to 
Mr. Collins, she thought with equal certainty, and with 
considerable, though not equal, pleasure. Elizabeth was 
the least dear to her of all her children ; and though the 
man and the match were quite good enough for her^ 
the worth of each was eclipsed by Mr, Bingley and 


( 104 ) 


The next day opened a new scene at Longbourn. 
Mr. Collins made his declaration in form. Having resolved 
to do it without loss of time, as his leave of absence 
extended only to the following Saturday, and having no 
feelings of diffidence to make it distressing to himself 
even at the moment, he set about it in a very orderly 
manner, with all the observances which he supposed a 
regular part of the business. On finding Mrs. Bennet, 
Elizabeth, and one of the younger girls together, soon 
after breakfast, he addressed the mother in these words, 

" May I hope, Madam, for your interest with your fair 
daughter Elizabeth, when I solicit for the honour of a 
private audience with her in the course of this morning ? " 

Before Elizabeth had time for any thing but a blush 
of surprise, Mrs. Bennet instantly answered, 

" Oh dear ! — Yes — certainly. — I am sure Lizzy will be 
very happy — I am sure she can have no objection. — Come, 
Kitty, I want you up stairs." And gathering her work 
together, she was hastening away, when Elizabeth called 

" Dear Ma'am, do not go.— -I beg you will not go. — 
Mr. Collins must excuse me. — He can have nothing to 
say to me that any body need not hear. I am going away 

" No, no, nonsense, Lizzy. — I desire you will stay 
where you are." — And upon Elizabeth's seeming really, 
with vexed and embarrassed looks, about to escape, she 
added, " Lizzy, I insist upon your staying and hearing 
Mr. ColHns." 

Elizabeth would not oppose such an injunction — and 
a moment's consideration making her also sensible that 
it would be wisest to get it over as soon and as quietly 
as possible, she sat down again, and tried to conceal by 


( 105 ) 

incessant employment the feelings which were divided 
between distress and diversion. Mrs. Bennet and Kitty 
walked off, and as soon as they were gone Mr. Collins 

" Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your 
modesty, so far from doing you any disservice, rather 
adds to your other perfections. You would have been 
less amiable in my eyes had there not been this little 
unwillingness ; but allow me to assure you that I have 
your respected mother's permission for this address. 
You can hardly doubt the purport of my discourse, 
however your natural delicacy may lead you to dissemble ; 
my attentions have been too marked to be mistaken. 
Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out 
as the companion of my future life. But before I am run 
away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it will 
be advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying — 
and moreover for coming into Hertfordshire with the 
design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did." 

The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, 
being run away with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so 
near laughing that she could not use the short pause he 
allowed in any attempt to stop him farther, and he con- 
tinued : 

" My reasons for marrying arc, first, that I think it 
a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances 
(like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his 
parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very 
greatly to my happiness ; and thirdly — which perhaps 
I^ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular jiji^ ^/MlA' 
adMC'c and rcconnnendation of the very noble lady whom p^ (^^tiJUfCt 
I have the honour of calling patroness. Twice has slie ^ ijui/haAa. 
condescended to give me her opinion (unasked too !) on r^ ri*l^l/w*' 
this subject ; and it was but the very Saturday night i 

before I left Hunsford — between our pools at quadrille, 
while Mrs. Jenkinson was arranging Miss dc Bourgh's 
foot-stool, that she said, 'Mr. Collins, you must marry. 
A clergyman like you must marry. — Chusc properly^ chu^e 



( 106 ) 

a gentlewoman for my sake ; and for your own, let her 

be an active, useful sort of person, not brought up high, 

but able to make a small income go a good way. This is 

\iUy advice. Find such a woman as soon as you can, bring 

her to Hunsford, and I will visit her.' Allow me, by the 

w^ay, to observe, my fair cousin, that I do not reckon 

the notice and kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh 

fU *^ as among the least of the advantages in my power to 

/ offer. You will find her manners beyond any thing I can 

describe ; and your wit and vivacity I think must be 

kj/r^ ' ^ acceptable to her, especially when tempered with the 

J*//' \ silence and respect which her rank will inevitably excite. 

Iff^^KjiAf Thus much for my general intention in favour of matri- 

)!jf^ y^fjttiony ; it remains to be told why my views were directed 

y^ k0' to Longbourn instead of my own neighbourhood, where 

^J^ qr ' I assure you there are many amiable young women. 

r^ I Ijt But the fact is, that being, as I am, to inherit this estate 

■ JOr^ after the death of your honoured father, (who, however, 

JW*^ may live many years longer,) I could not satisfy myself 

4 without resolving to chuse a mf e from among his daughters, 

that the loss to them might be as little as possible, when 

the melancholy event takes place — which, however, as 

I have already said, may not be for several years. This 

has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself 

it will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing 

remains for me but to assure you in the most animated 

language of the violence of my affection. To fortune I am 

perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of that 

nature on your father, since I am well aware that it could 

not be complied with ; and that one thousand pounds 

in the 4 per cents, which will not be yours till after your 

mother's decease, is all that you may ever be entitled to. 

On that head, therefore, I shall be uniformly silent ; and 

you may assure yourself that no ungenerous reproach 

shall ever pass my lips when we are married." 

It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now. 
" You are too hast}^ Sir," she cried. " You forget that 
I have made no answer. Let me do it without farther 


( 107 ) 

toss of time. Accept my thanks for the c ompliment you 
are paying me. I am very sensiMcL oi.the Tionour oi^s^^ 
proposals, but it is impossible for mc to do oth^jwise 
than decline them," 

*-*- 1 am not now to learn," replied Mr. Collins, with hJlMOJl^ 
a formal wave of the hand, " that it is usual with young . /^l L y , 
ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they < ^"^"^ J^ 
secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their ii/^ 09-^^ 
favour ; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a ^ 

second or even a third time. I am therefore by no means 
discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope 
to lead you to the altar ere long." 

" Upon my word. Sir," cried Elizabeth, " your hope is 
rather an extraordinary one after my declaration. I do 
assure you that I am not one of those young ladies (if such 
young ladies there are) who are so daring as to risk their ti/SASfVVA^ 
happiness on the chance of being asked a second time. -;^ jlaCWU 
I am perfectly serious in my refusal. — You could not 
make ine happy, and I am convinced that I am the last 
woman in the world who would make you so.^ — Nay, Avere 
your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I am persuaded 
she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the 

" Were it certain that Lady Catherinc^youldJtMllJLso,'' 
said Mr. Collins very gravely — " but I cannot imagine 
that her ladyship would at all disapprove of you. And 
you may be certain that when I have the honour of seeing 
her again I shall speak in the highest terms of your 
modesty, economy, and other amiable qualifications." 

*' Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unneces- 
sary. You must give me leave to judge for myself, and 
pay me the compliment of believing what I say. I wish 
you very happy and very rich, and by refusing your hand, 
do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise. In 
making me the offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy 
"^your feelings with regard to mj^ family, and may take 
possession of Longbourn estate whenever it falls, witliout 
any self- reproa ch. This matter may be considered, Ihcrc- 

I^jUkA ^' 

( 108 ) 

fore, as finally settled." And rising as she thus spoke, she 
would have quitted the room, had not Mr. Collins thus 
addressed her, 

" When I do myself the honour of speaking to you 
next on this subject I shall hope to receive a more favour- 
able answer than you have now given me ; though I am 
far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because 
I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject 
a man on the first application, and perhaps you have even 
now said as much to encourage my suit as would be con- 
sistent with the true delicacy of the female character." 

" Really, Mr. Collins," cried Elizabeth with some 
warmth, " you puzzle me exceedingly. If what I have 
hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encourage- 
ment, I know not how to express^ my refusal in such a way 
as may convince you of its being one." 

'* You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear 
cousin, that your refusal of my addresses is merely 
words of course. My reasons for believing it are briefly 
these : — It does not appear to me that my hand is un- 
worthy your acceptance, or that the establishment I can 
offer would be any other than highly desirable. My 
situation in life, my connections with the family of 
De Bourgh, and my relationship to your own, are cir- 
cumstances highly in my favour ; and you should take 
it into farther consideration that in spite of your manifold 
attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer 
of marriage may ever be made you. Your portion is 
unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the 
effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. As 
I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your 
rejection of me, I shall chuse to attribute it to your wish 
of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual 
practice of elegant females." 

"I do assure you, Sir, that I have no pretension 
whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in 
tormenting a respectable man. I would rather be paid 


( 109 ) 

ie^complimcnt of being believed s^incere. I thank you 
again and again for the honour you have done me in 
your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely im- 
possible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can 
I speak plainer ? Do not consider me now as an elegant 
female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature 
speaking the truth from her heart." 

" You are uniformly charming ! " cried he, with an air 
of awkward gallantry ; " and I am persuaded that when 
sanctioned by the express authority of both your excellent 
parents, my proposals will not fail of being acceptable." 

To such perseverance in wilful self-deception Elizabeth 
would make no reply, and immediately and in silence 
withdrew ; determined, if he persisted in considering her 
repeated refusals as flattering encouragement, to apply 
to her father, whose negative might be uttered in such 
a manner as must be decisive, and whose behaviour 
at least could not be mistaken for the affectation and 
coquetry of an elegant femaki 


( 110 ) 


Mr. Collins was not left long to the silent contemplation 
of his successful love ; for Mrs. Bennet, having dawdled 
about in the vestibule to watch for the end of the con- 
ference, no sooner saw Elizabeth open the door and with 
quick step pass her towards the staircase, than she entered 
the breakfast-room, and congratulated both him and her- 
self in warm terms on the happy prospect of their nearer 
connection. Mr. Collins received and returned these 
felicitations with equal pleasure, and then proceeded to 
relate the particulars of their interview, with the result 
of which he trusted he had every reason to be satisfied, 
since the refusal which his cousin had stedfastly given 
him would naturally flow from her bashful modesty and 
the genuine delicacy of her character. 

This information, however, startled Mrs. Bennet ;— 
she would have been glad to be equally satisfied that her 
daughter had meant to encourage him by protesting 
against his proposals, but she dared not to believe it, and 
could not help saying so. 

" But depend upon it, Mr. Collins," she added, " that 
Lizzy shall be brought to reason. I will speak to her 
about it myself directly. She is a very headstrong foolish 
girl, and does not know her own interest ; but I will 
make her know it." 

" Pardon me for interrupting you, Madam," cried 
Mr. Collins ; " but if she is really headstrong and foolish, 
I know not whether she would altogether be a very 
desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally 
looks for happiness in the marriage state. Jf_theiefore 
she actually persists in rejecti ng my suit, per haps it were 
beUfij:-»otio.iorce Jier into accepfing me, pecaiisOtlia^ 
tQ„such defects of temper^ she could not contribute much 
to my felicity." 
-^ — "Sir, 

( in ) 

" Sir, you quite misunderstand mc," said Mrs. Bennet, 
alarmed. " Lizzy is only headstrong in such matters as 
these. In every thing else she is as good natured a girl 
as ever lived. I will go directly to Mr. Bennet, and we 
shall very soon settle it with her, I am sure." 

She would not give him time to reply, but hurrying 
instantly to her husband, called out as she entered the 

" Oh ! Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately ; we 
are all in an uproar. You must come and make Lizzy 
marry Mr. Collins, for she vows she will not have him, 
and if you do not make haste he will change his mind and 
not have her.^^ 

Mr. Bennet raised his eyes from his book as she entered, 
and fixed them on her face with a calm unconcern which 
was not in the least altered by her communication. 

*' I have not the pleasure of understanding you," said 
he, when she had finished her speech. " Of what are you 
talking ? " 

" Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not 
have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say that he 
will not have Lizzy." 

" And what am I to do on the occasion ? — It seems an 
hopeless business." 

" Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her that you 
insist upon her marrying him." 

" Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion." 

Mrs. Bennet rang the bell, and Miss Elizabeth was 
summoned to the fibrary. 

" Come here, child," cried her father as she appeared. 
*' I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I under- 
stand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. 
Is it true ? " Elizabeth replied that it was. " Very well — 
and this offer of marriage you have refused ? " 

" I have. Sir." 

" Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother 
insists upon your accepting it. Is not it so, Mrs. Bennet ? " 

" Yes, or I will never see her again." 


( 112 ) 

*' An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. 
From this day you must be a stranger to one of your 
parents. — Your mother will never see you again if you 
do not marry Mr. Collins, and J will never see you .again 
if youjo." %.\ Y^ X. r 

Elizabeth could not but smile* at such a conclusion of 
such a beginning; but Mrs. Bennet, who had persuaded 
herself that her husband regarded the affair as she wished, 
was excessively disappointed. 

" What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, by talking in this 
way ? You promised me to insist upon her marrying him." 

" My dear," replied her husband, " I have two small 
favours to request. First, that you will allow me the free 
use of my understanding on the present occasion ; and 
secondly, of my room. I shall be glad to have the library 
to myself as soon as may be." 

Not yet, however, in spite of her disappointment in her 
husband, did Mrs. Bennet give up the point. She talked 
to Elizabeth again and again ; coaxed and threatened her 
by turns. She endeavoured to secure Jane in her interest, 
but Jane with all possible mildness declined interfering ; — 
and Elizabeth sometimes with real earnestness and some- 
times with playful gaiety replied to her attacks. Though 
her manner varied however, her determination never did. 

Mr. Collins, meanwhile, was meditating in solitude on 
what had passed. He thought too well of himself to com- 
prehend on what motive his cousin could refuse him ; and 
though his pride was hurt, he suffered in no other way. 
J His regard for her was quite imaginary ; and the possibility 
of her deserving her mother's reproach prevented his 
feeling any regret. 

While the family were in this confusion, Charlotte 
Lucas came to spend the day with them. She was met 
in the vestibule by Lydia, who, flying to her, cried in a 
half whisper, " I am glad you are come, for there is such 
fun here ! — What do you think has happened this morn- 
ing ? — Mr. Collins has made an offer to Lizzy, and she will 
not have him." 


( 113 ) 

Charlotte had hardly time to answer, before they were 
joined by Kitty, who came to tell the same news, and no 
sooner had they entered the breakfast-room, where Mrs* 
Bennet was alone, than she likewise began on the subject, 
calling on Miss Lucas for her compassion, and entreating 
her to persuade her friend Lizzy to comply with the wishes 
of all her family. " Pray do, my dear Miss Lucas," she 
added in a melancholy tone, " for nobody is on my side, 
nobody takes part with me, I am cruelly used, nobody 
feels for my poor nerves." 

Charlotte's reply was spared by the entrance of Jane 
and Elizabeth. 

" Aye, there she comes," continued Mrs. Bennet, 
" looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more 
for us than if we were at York, provided she can have 
her own way. — But I tell you what. Miss Lizzy, if you 
take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of 
marriage in this way, you mil never get a husband at 
all — and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you 
when your father is dead. — / shall not be able to keep 
you — and so I warn you. — I have done \\ith you from 
this very day. — I told you in the library, you know, that 
I should never speak to you again, and you will find me 
as good as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to 
undutiful children. — Not that I have much pleasure indeed 
in talking to any body. People who suffer as I do from 
nervous complaints can have no great inclination for 
talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer ! — But it is always 
so. ThosS Li vh o dajftftt.Ci3tfaelm^a^J^ever^tied." — ♦A>0'''»M,-t^ 

Her daughters listened in silence toTEis effusion, sensible 
that any attempt to reason with or sooth her would only 
increase the irritation. She talked on, therefore, without 
interruption from any of them till they were joined by 
Mr. Collins, who entered ^vith an air more stately than 
usual, and on perceiving whom, she said to the girls, 

" Now, I do insist upon it, that you, all of you, hold 
your tongues, and let Mr. Collins and me have a little 
conversation together." 

p- p- I Elizabeth 

{ IM ) 

' Elizabeth passed quietly out of the room, Jane and 
Kitty followed, but Lydia stood her ground, determined 
to hear all she could ; and Charlotte, detained first by 
the civility of Mr. Collins, whose inquiries after herself 
and all her family were very minute, and then by a little 
curiosity, satisfied herself with walking to the window and 
pretending not to hear. In a doleful voice Mrs. Bennet 
thus began the projected conversation. — " Oh ! Mr. 
Collins ! "— 

" My dear Madam," replied he, *' let us be for ever 
silent on this point. Far be it from me," he presently 
continued in a voice that marked his displeasure, '* to 
resent the behaviour of your daughter. Resignation to 
inevitable evils is the duty of us all ; the peculiar duty 
of a young man who has been so fortunate as I have been 
in early preferment ; and I trust I am resigned. Perhaps 
not the less so from feeling a doubt of my positive happi" 
ness had my fair cousin honoured me with her hand ; 
for I have often observed that resignation is never so 
perfect as when the blessing denied begins to lose some- 
what of its value in our estimation. You will not, I hope, 
consider me as shewing any disrespect to your family, 
my dear Madam, by thus withdrawing my pretensions to 
your daughter's favour, without having paid yourself and 
Mr. Bennet the compliment of requesting you to inter- 
pose your authority in my behalf. My conduct may 
I fear be objectionable in having accepted my dismission 
from your daughter's lips instead of your own. But we 
are all liable to error. I have certainly meant well through 
the whole affair. My object has been to secure an amiable 
companion for myself, with due consideration for the 
advantage of all your family, and if my manner has been 
at all reprehensible, I here beg leave to apologise." 


( 115 ) 


The discussion of Mr. Collins's offer was now nearly at 
an end, and Elizabeth had only to suffer from the uncom- 
fortable feelings necessarily attending it, and occasionally 
from some peevish allusion of her mother. As for the . 

gentleman himself, his feelings were chiefly expressed, not ^ Qfi^--^ ^ 
by embarrassment or dejection, or by trying to avoid her, l-AJ^u^ 

but by stiffness of manner and resentful silence. He fiw^|.u, ^ 

scarcely ever spoke to her, and the assiduous attentions 
which he had heeii so sensijye. of himself, were transferred 4n.V^ <— 
for the rest of the day to Miss Lucas, whose civihty in\ t\ t^4±:.* 
listening to him, was a seasonable relief to them all, and | %|,^^ '*' 
especially to her friend. -—- ■- 

The morrow produced no abatement of Mrs. Bennet's 
ill humour or ill health. Mr. Collins was also in the 
same state of angry pride. Elizabeth had hoped that his 
resentment might shorten his visit, but his plan did not, v; 
appear in the least affected by it. He was always to have 
gone on Saturday, and to Saturday he still meant to stay.' 

After breakfast, the girls walked to Meryton to inquire 
if Mr. Wickham were returned, and to lament over his 
absence from the Netherfield ball. He joined them on 
their entering the town and attended them to their aunt's, 
where his regret and vexation, and the concern of every 
body was well talked over. — To Elizabeth, however, he 
voluntarily acknowledged that the necessity of his absence 
had been self imposed. 

" I found," said he, " as the time drew near, that I had i iOou ^ i^- 
better not meet Mr. Darcy ; — that to be in the same U ^ ^ 
room, the same party with him for so many hours together, | 
might be more than I could bear, and that scenes might • 
arise unpleasant to more than myself." 

She highly approved his forbearance, and they had 
leisure for a full discussion of it, and for all the com- 

I 2 mendation 




( 116 ) 

mendation which they civilly bestowed on each other, 
as Wickham and another officer walked back with them 
to Longbourn, and during the walk, he particularly 
attended to her. His accompanying them was a double 
advantage ; she felt all the compliment it offered to 
herself, and it was most acceptable as an occasion of 
introducing him to her father and mother. 

Soon after their return, a letter was delivered to Miss 
Bennet ; it came from Netherfield, and was opened 
immediately. The envelope contained a sheet of elegant, 
little, hot pressed paper, well covered with a lady's fair, 
flowing hand ; and Elizabeth saw her sister's countenance 
change as she read it, and saw her dwelling intently on 
some particular passages. Jane recollected herself soon, 
and putting the letter away, tried to join with her usual 
cheerfulness in the general conversation ; but Elizabeth 
felt an anxiety on the subject which drew off her attention 
even from Wickham ; and no sooner had he and his 
companion taken leave, than a glance from Jane invited 
her to follow her up stairs. When they had gained their 
own room, Jane taking out the letter, said, 

" This is from Caroline Bingl^ ; what it contains, has 
surprises nie "a good deal " THc whole party have left^ 
Netherfield by thi^ time, and arc on their way to town; 
and without any intention of coming back again. You 
shall hear what she says." 

She then read the first sentence aloud, which comprised 
the information of their having just resolved to follow 
their brother to town directly, and of their meaning to 
dine that day in Grosvenor street, where Mr. Hurst had 
a house. The next was in these words. " I do not pretend 
to regret any thing I shall leave in Hertfordshire, except 
your society, my dearest friend ; but we will hope at 
some future period, to enjoy many returns of the delight- 
ful intercourse we have known, and in the mean while may 
lessen the pain of separation by a very frequent and most 
unreserved correspondence. I depend on you for that." 
To these high flown expressions, Elizabeth listened with all 


( in ) 

the insensibility of distrust ; and though the suddenness 
of their removal surprised her, she saw nothing in it really 
to lament ; it was not to be supposed that their absence 
from Netherfield would prevent Mr. Bingley's being there ; 
and as to the loss of their society, she was persuaded that 
Jane must soon cease to regard it, in the enjoyment of his. 

"It is unlucky," said she, after a short pause, " that 
you should not be able to see your friends before they 
leave the country. But may we not hope that the period 
of future happiness to which Miss Bingley looks forward, 
may arrive earlier than she is aware, and that the delight- 
ful intercourse you have known as friends, will be renewed 
with yet greater satisfaction as sisters ? — Mr. Bingley will 
not be detained in London by them." 

" Caroline decidedly says that none of the party will 
return into Hertfordshire this winter. I will read it to 

"When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined 
that the business which took him to London, might be 
concluded in three or four days, but as we are certain 
it cannot be so, an d at _the same time convinced tfa^t m — 
>vhen Charles gets to town, he will be in no hurry to leave 
it again, we have determined on following him thither, 
thai he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in 
a comfortless hotel. Many of my acquaintance are already 
there for the winter ; I wish I could hear that you, my\ Ijuot ^^^ 
dearest friend, had any intention of making one in the' 
croud, but of that I despair. I sincerely hope your Christ- 
mas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which 
that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be 
so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the tiycec, 
of whom we shall deprive you." 

"It is evident by this," added Jane, " ^lat he comes, 
back no m ore tliis winter." ^ i u^ 

~ '"H IS only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean ^'^'^. ^ 
he shouW ^r^L.^ 

" Why will you think so ? It must be his own doing. — 
He is his own master. But you do not know alL I will 


x^ ( 118 ) 

vj^e^^ ' r read 5^u the passage which particularly hurts me. I will 

- ' have no reserves from ?/ow." " Mr. Darcy is impatient 

^-^ to see his sister, and to confess the truth, we are 

scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do fJA/i 
not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal ior beauty, * 
; elegance, and accomplishments ; and the affection she f "*^ 

■^^ inspires in Louisa and myself, is heightened into some- \p 

thing still more interesting, from the hope we dare to^g^ 
..r entertain of her being hereafter our sister. I do nofi , 

1^ yp know whether I ever before mentioned to you my\^ 
feelings on this subject, but I will not leave the country { 
without confiding them, and I trust you will not esteem 3 
them unreasonable. My brother admires her greatly 
already, he will have frequent opportunity now of seeing 
her on the most intimate footing, her relations all wish 
the connection as much as his own, and a sister's partiality 
is not misleading me, I think, when I call Charles most;*! 
capable of engaging any woman's heart. With all these II 
circumstances to favour an attachment and nothing to pre-;; 
vent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope '^ 
of an event which will secure the happiness of so many ?" 
'' What think you of this sentence, my dear Lizzy ? " — 
said Jane as she finished it. "Is it not clear enough ? — 
Does it not expressly declare that Caroline neither expects 
\ nor ^vishes me to be her sister ; that she is perfectly con- 
^ <3»-^*'^ y vinced of her brother's indifference, and that if she suspects 
^ I the nature of my feelings for him, she means (most kindly !) 

I to put me on my guard ? Can there be any other opinion 
f on the subject ? " 

" Yes, there can ; for mine is totally different. — Will 
you hear it ? " 
" Most willingly." 
• '<Y^ "You shall have it in few words.". Miss Bingley sees 
that her brother is in loj^e with you, an^a^'Wantrlf tffiT to 
marry Miss Darcy. She follows him to town in the hope 
of keeping. Mm there, and tries to persuade you that he 
does not care about you.*' 
Jane shook her head. 

" Indeed, 

( 119 ) 

" Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. — No one who 
has ever seen you together, can doubt his affection. Miss 
Bingley I am sure cannot. She is not such a simpleton. 
Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for 
f herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. But 
the case is this. We are not rich enough, or grand enough 
for them ; and she is the more anxious to get Miss Darcy 
fQrJicr^brothcr, from the notion that when there has been 
one intermarriag'eTsKe'may have less trouble in achieving 
a secondj in wbich there is certainly some ingenuity, and 
I dare say it would succeed, if Miss de Bourgh were out 
of the way. But, my dearest Jane, you cannot seriously 
imagine that because Miss Bingley tells you her brother 
greatly admires Miss Darcy, he is in the smallest degree 
less sensible of your merit than when he took leave of you 
on Tuesday, or that it will be in her power to persuade 
him that instead of being in love with you, he is very 
much in love with her friend." 

" If we thought alike of Miss Bingley," repHed Jane, 
" your representation of all this, might make me quite 
easy. But I know the foundation is unjust. Caroline is 
incapable of ^vilfully deceiving any one ; and all that 
I can hope in this case is, that she is deceived herself.'* 

" That is right. — You could not have started a more 
happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine. 
Believe her to be deceived by all means. You have now 
done your duty by her, and must fret no longer." 

" But, my dpar sister, can I be happy, even supposing 
the best, in accepting a man whose sisters and friends are, 
all wishing him to marry elsewhere ? " 

" You must decide for yourself," said Elizabeth, " and 
if upon mature deliberation, you find that the misery of 
disobliging his two sisters is more than equivalent to the 
happiness of being his wife, I advise you by all means 
to refuse him." 

" How can you talk so ? " — said Jane faintly smihng, — 
" You must know that though I should be exceedingly 
grieved at their disapprobation, I could not hesitate." 

O'^ \ 




( 120 ) 

" I did not think j^ou would ; — and that being the case, 
I cannot consider your situation with much compassion.'* 

" But if he returns no more this winter, my choice Avill 
never be required. A thousand things may arise in six 
months ! " 

The idea of his returning no more Ehzabcth treated 
with the utmost contempt. It appeared to her merely the 
suggestion of Caroline's interested wishes, and she could 
not for a moment suppose that those wishes, however 
openly or artfully spoken, could influence a young man so 
totally independent of every one. 

She represented to her sister as forcibly as possible 
what she felt on the subject, and had soon the i^leasure 
of seeing its happy effect. Jane's temper was not des- 
}X)nding, and she was gradually kd^^o hoj)e, though the 
diffidence of affection sometimes overcaiiie tlie hope, that 
Bingley would return to Netherfield and answer every wish 
of her heart. 

They agreed that Mrs. Bennet should only hear of the 
departure of the family, without being alarmed on 
the score of the gentleman's conduct ; but even this 
partial communication gave her a great deal of concern, 
and she bewailed it as exceedingly unlucky that the ladies 
should happen to go away, just as they were all getting 
so intimate together. After lamenting it however at some 
length, she had the consolation of thinking tJiat Mr. 
Bingley w^ould be soon down again and soon dining at 

Longbourn, and the conclusion of all was the comfortable 
declaration that, though he had been invited only to a 
family dinner, she would take care to have two full 


( 121 ) 


The Bcnncts were engaged to dine with the Lucases, 
and again during the chief of the day, was Miss Lucas so 
kind as to Hsten to Mr. Colhns. Ehzabeth took an oppor- 
tunity of thanking her. " It keeps him in good humour," 
said she, " and I am more obHged to you than I can 
express." Charlotte assured her friend of her satisfaction 
in being useful, and that it amply repaid her for the littlcj 
sacrifice of her time. This was very amiable, but Char^ 
lotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any 
conception of ; — its object was nothing less, than to secure 
her from any return of Mr. Collins' s addresses, by engaging 
them tow^ards herself. Such was Miss Lucas's scheme ; t 

and appearances were so favourable that when they^ ,Ai>* 
parted at night, she would have felt almost sure of success \r^ i^^^^ 
if he had not been to leave Hertfordshire so very soon. \^ (iO^vui 
But here, she did injustice to the fire and independence C^^***'^ 
of his character, for it led him to escape out of Longbourn 
House the next morning with admirable s\^ne^ and (Zjoik^'t 
hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw himself at lieTleet. He 
wa^ anxious to avoid the notice of his cousins, from 
a conviction that if they saw him depart, they could not 
fail to conjecture his design, and he was not willing to 
have the attempt known till its success could be known 
likewise ; for though feeling almost secure, and with 
reason, for Charlotte had been tolerably encouraging, he j ^i 
was comparatively diffident since the adventure of Wednes- \ JJ v^ ^ 
day. His reception however was of the most flattering U ^ 
kind. Miss Lucas perceived him from an upper window 
as he walked towards the house, and instantly set out 
to meet him accidentally in the lane, gutjittle had she____ 
t dared to hope that sam»efelove-.aiid-.elo(juence awaited 
"^er there. 

In as short a. time as Mr, Collins's long speeches would 

I allow, 


( in > 

allow, every thing was settled between them to the satis- 
faction of both ; and as they entered the house, he earnestly 
entreated her to name the day that was to make him the 
happiest of men ; and though such a solicitation must be 
waved for the present, the lady felt no inclination to 
trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which he 
was favoured by nature, must guard his courtship from 
-^ any charm that could make a woman wish for its continu- 

^, ance ; and Miss Lucas^ who accepted him solely from the 

l-Ctj I pure and disinterested desire of an establishment',' "t^SCTCd 

- .^ '- '^^^ ^^^^ soon that establishment were gained. 
j^^f^Tp'-' Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily applied to 
j.jH^ ior their consent ; and it was bestowed with a most 
^"^ , joyful alacrity. Mr. CoUins's present circumstances made 

N 40^ it a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they 
^ ^^ could give little fortune ; and his prospects of future 
jj^ wealth were exceedingly fair. Lady Lucas began directly 

to calculate with more interest than the matter had ever 
excited before, how many years longer Mr. Bennet was 
likely to live ; and Sir William gave it as his decided 
opinion, that whenever Mr. Collins should be in possession 
of the Longbourn estate, it would be highly expedient 
that both he and his wife should make their appearance 
at St. James's. The whole family in short were properly 
overjoyed on the occasion. The younger girls formed 
hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might 
otherwise have done ; and the boys were relieved from 
their apprehension of Charlotte's dj^ing an old maid. 
Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained 
her point, and had time to consider of it. Her reflections 
were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins to be sure was 
neither sensible nor agreeable ; his society was irksome, 
and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still 
^ he would be her husband. — Without tljiijking highly either 
of men or of matrimony, mamagcji^ always been her 
qhifiCti ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ only honourable provision for well- 
educated young women of small fortune, and however 
uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantcst 


preservative from watjit. This preservative she had now ! ^^^A^ ^i 
obtained ; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ^ "'^'^'^■ 
ever been handsome, she felt all the good luek of it. The 
least agreeable cireumstanee in the business, was the sur- 
prise it must oeeasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship 
she valued beyond that of any other person. Elizabeth 
would wonder, and probably would blame her ; and though 
her resolution was not to be shaken, her feelings must be 
hurt by sueh disapprobation. She resolved to give her 
the information herself, and therefore charged Mr. Collins 
when he returned to Longbourn to dinner, to drop no 
hint of what had passed before any of the family. A pro- 
mise of secreey was of course very dutifully given, but it 
could not be kept without difficulty ; for the curiosity 
excited by his long absence, burst forth in such very 
direct questions on his return, as required some ingenuity 
to evade, and he was at the same time exercising great 
self-denial, for he was longing to publish his prosperous love. 

As he was to begin his journey too early on the morrow 
to see any of the family, the ceremony of leave-taking 
was performed when the ladies moved for the night ; and ; 

Mrs. Bennet with great politeness and cordiality said how\ 'fih^ > 
happy they should be to see him at Longbourn again, when-/ A/' t ' 
ever his other engagements might allow him to visit them/ 

" My dear Madam," he replied, " this invitation is 
particularly gratifying, because it is what I have been\ f IvIKJS'- 
hoping to receive ; and you may be very certain that I 1 / 

shall avail myself of it as soon as possible." * 

They were all astonished ; and Mr. Bennet, who could 
by no means wish for so speedy a return, immediately said, 

" But is there not danger of Lady Catheriiie's disappro- 
^V,bati5nT!ererTfiy-'g5^ neglect your 

relations, than run the risk of offending your patroness." 

" My dear sir," replied Mr. Collins, " I am particularly f . d-^Jf*^ 

obliged to you for this friendly caution, and you may^jL^Jih/^ ^ 

)end upon my not taking so material a step without her| aJ i^-i^a 

ladyship's concurrence." / jf^y^^^^ 

" You cannot be too much on your guard. Risk- 

( 124 ), 

any thing rather than her displeasure ; and if you find it 
likely to be raised by your coming to us again, which I 
should think exceedingly probable, stay quietly at home, 
and be satisfied that we shall take no offence." 

" Believe me, my dear sir, my gratitude is warmly 
excited by such affectionate attention ; and depend upon 
it, you will speedily receive from me a letter of thanks for 
this, as well as for every other mark of your regard during 
my stay in Hertfordshire. As for my fair cousins, though 
my absence may not be long enough to render it necessary, 
I shall now take the liberty of wishing them health and 
happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth." 

With proper civilities the ladies then withdrew ; all of 
them equally surprised to find that he meditated a quick 
return. Mrs. Bennet wished to understand by it that he 
thought of paying his addresses to one of her younger 
girls, and Mary might have been prevailed on to accept 
him. She rated his abilities much higher than any of the 
others ; there was a solidity in his reflections which often 
{struck her, and though by no means so clever as herself, 
she thought that if encouraged to read and improve himself 
by such an example as her's, he might become a very 
agreeable companion. But on the following morning, 
every hope of this kind was done away. Miss Lucas called 
soon after breakfast, and in a private conference with 
Elizabeth related the event of the day before. 

The possibility of Mr. Collins's jfancying himself in love 
with her friend had once occurred lo Elizabeth within the 
last day or two ; but that Charlotte could encourage him, 
seemed almost as far from possibility as that she could 
encourage him herself, and her astonishment was conse- 
quently so great as to overcome at first the bounds of 
decorum, and she could not help crying out, 

" Engaged to Mr. Collins ! my dear Charlotte, — 
hn possible ! " 

The steady countenance which Miss Lucas had com-r 
manded in telling her story, gave way to a momentary 
confusion here on receiving so direct a reproach ; though, 



( 125 ) 

as it was no more than she expected, she soon regained her 
composure, and calmly replied, 

" Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza ? — Do 
you think it incredible that Mr. Collins should be able to 
procure any woman's good opinion, because he was not so 
happy as to succeed with you ? " 

But Elizabeth had now recollected herself, and making a 
strong effort for it, was able to assure her with tolerable firm- 
ness that the prospect of their relationship was highly grateful 
to her, and that she wished her all imaginable happiness. 

" I see what you are feeling," replied Charlotte, — " you 
must be surprised, very much surprised, — so lately as 
Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you 
have had time to think it all over, I hope you will be ^ 

satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic you jWT 

know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home ; -^ ^ - 

and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and 
situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of hap- 
piness with him is as fair, as most people can boast on ' W^ 
entering the marriage state." ^ 

Elizabeth quietly answered " Undoubtedly ; " — and 
after an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the 
family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth 
was then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was 
a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea 
of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins's 
making two offers of marriage within three days, was 
nothing^ jnu-jCQjiiparison of his being now accepted. She 
Kad"'am'ays felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony 
was not exactly like her own, but she could not have 
supposed it possible that when called into action, she 
would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly 
advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins, was a most 
humiliating picture ! — And to the pang of a friend dis- 
gracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the 
distressing conviction that it was impossible for that 
friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen. 


( 1^6 ) 


Elizabeth was sitting with her mother and sisters, 
reflecting on what she had heard, and doubting whether 
she were authorised to mention it, when Sir William Lucas 
himself appeared, sent by his daughter to announce her 
engagement to the family. With many compliments to 
them, and much self-gratulation on the prospect of a 
connection between the houses, he unfolded the matter, — 
to an audience not merely wondering, but incredulous ; 
for Mrs. Bennet, with more perseverance than politeness, 
protested he must be entirely mistaken, and Lydia, always 
unguarded and often uncivil, boisterously exclaimed, 

" Good Lord ! Sir William, how can you tell such 
a story ? — Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants to 
marry Lizzy ? " 

Nothing less than the complaisance of a courtier could 
have borne without anger such treatment; but Sir 
William's good breeding carried him through it all ; and 
though he begged leave to be positive as to the truth 
of his information, he listened to all their impertinence 
with the most forbearing courtesy. 

Elizabeth, feeling it incumbent on her to relieve him 
from so unpleasant a situation, now put herself forward 
to confirm his account, by mentioning her prior knowledge 
of it from Charlotte herself ; and endeavoured to put 
a stop to the exclamations of her mother and sisters, by 
the earnestness of her congratulations to Sir William, 
in which she was readily joined by Jane, and by making 
a variety of remarks on the happiness that might be 
expected from the match, the excellent character of 
Mr. Collins, and the convenient distance of Hunsford from 

Mrs. Bennet was in fact too much overpowered to 
say a great deal while Sir William remaned ; but no 


1S7 ) 

sooner had he left them than her feelings found a rapid 
vent. In the first place, she persisted in disbelieving the 
whole of the matter ; secondly, she was very sure that 
Mr. Collins had been taken in ; thirdly, she trusted that 
they would never be happy together ; and fourthly, that 
the match might be broken off. Two inferences, however, 
were plainly deduced from the whole ; one, that Elizabeth 
was the real cause of all the mischief ; and the other, that 
she herself had been barbarously used by them all ; and 
on these two points she principally dwelt during the rest 
of the day. Nothing could console and nothing appease 
her. — Nor did that day wear out her resentment. A week 
elapsed before she could see Elizabeth without scolding 
her, a month passed away before she could speak to 
Sir William or Lady Lucas without being rude, and many 
months were gone before she could at all forgive their 

Mr. Bennet's emotions were much more tranquil on the 
occasion, and such as he did experience he pronounced 
to be of a most agreeable sort ; for it gratified him, he 
saidj to discover that Charlotte Lucas, whom he had been 
used to think tolerably sensible, was as foolish as his wife, 
and more foolish than his daughter ! 

Jane confessed herself a little surprised at the match ; 
but she said less of her astonishment than of her earnest 
desire for their happiness ; nor could Elizabeth persuade 
her to consider it as improbable. Kitty and Lydia were 
far from envying Miss Lucas, for Mr. Collins was only 
a clergyman ; and it affected them in no other way than 
>f as a piece of news to spread at Meryton. 

Lady Lucas could not be insensible of triumph on being 
able to retort on Mrs. Bennet the comfort of having a 
daughter well married ; and she called at Longbourn 
rather oftener than usual to say how happy she was, 
though Mrs. Bennet's sour looks and ill-natured remarks 
might have been enough to drive happiness away. 

Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint 
which kept them mutually silent on the subject ; and 


( 128 J 

Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could 
ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment 
in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her 
sister, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her 
opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness 
she grew daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been 
gone a week, and nothing was heard of his return. 

Jane had sent Caroline an early answer to her letter, 
and was counting the days till she might reasonably hope 
to hear again. The promised letter of thanks from 
Mr. Collins arrived on Tuesday, addressed to their father, 
and written with all the solemnity of gratitude which a 
twelvemonth's abode in the family might have prompted. 
After discharging his conscience on that head, he pro- 
ceeded to inform them, with many rapturous expressions, 
of his happiness in having obtained the affection of their 
amiable neighbour. Miss Lucas, and then explained that 
it was merely with the view of enjoying her society that 
he had been so ready to close with their kind wish of 
seeing him again at Longbourn, whither he hoped to be 
able to return on Monday fortnight ; for Lady Catherine, 
he added, so heartily approved his marriage, that she 
wished it to take place as soon as possible, which he trusted 
would be an unanswerable argument with his amiable 
Charlotte to name an early day for making him the happiest 
of men. 

Mr. CoUins's return into Hertfordshire was no longer 
a matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary 
she was as much disposed to complain of it as her hus- 
band. — It was very strange that he should come to 
Longbourn instead of to Lucas Lodge ; it was also very 
inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome. — She hated 
having visitors in the house while her health was so 
indifferent, and lovers were of all people the most dis- 
agreeable. Such were the gentle murmurs of Mrs. Bennet, 
and they gave way only to the greater distress of Mr. 
Bingley's continued absence. 


( 129 ) 

Neither Jane nor Elizabeth were comfortable on this 
subject. Day after day passed away without bringing 
any other tidings of him than the report which shortly 
prevailed in Meryton of his coming no more to Netherfield 
the whole winter ; a report which highly incensed Mrs. 
Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most 
scandalous falsehood. 

Even Elizabeth began to fear — not that Bingley was 
indifferent — but that his sisters would be successful in 
keeping him away. Unwilling as she was to admit an 
idea so destructive of Jane's happiness, and so dishonour- 
able to the stability of her lover, she could not prevent 
its frequently recurring. The united efforts of his two 
unfeeling sisters and of his overpowering friend, assisted 
by the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements 
of London, might be too much, she feared, for the strength 
of his attachment. 

As for Jane, her anxiety under this suspence was, of 
course, more painful than Elizabeth's ; but whatever she 
felt she was desirous of concealing, and between herself 
and Elizabeth, therefore, the subject was never alluded to. 
But as no such delicacy restrained her mother, an hour 
seldom passed in which she did not talk of Bingley, express 
her impatience for his arrival, or even require Jane to 
confess that if he did not come back, she should think 
herself very ill used. It needed all Jane's steady mildness 
to bear these attacks with tolerable tranquillity. 

Mr. Collins returned most punctually on the Monday 
fortnight, but his reception at Longbourn was not quite 
so gracious as it had been on his first introduction. He 
was too happy, however, to need much attention ; and 
luckily for the others, the business of love-making relieved 
them from a great deal of his company. The chief of 
every day was spent by him at Lucas Lodge, and he 
sometimes returned to Longbourn only in time to make 
an apology for his absence before the family went to bed. 

Mrs. Bennet was really in a most pitiable state. The 
very mention of any thing concerning the match threw 

p. p. K her 

( 130 ) 

her into an agony of ill humour, and wherever she went 
she was sure of hearing it talked of. The sight of Miss 
Lucas was odious to her. As her successor in that house, 
she regarded her with jealous abhorrence. Whenever 
CJiarlotte came to see them she concluded her to be 
anticipating the hour of possession ; and whenever she 
spoke in a low voice to Mr. Collins, was convinced that 
they were talking of the Longbourn estate, and resolving 
to turn herself and her daughters out of the house, as soon 
as Mr. Bennet were dead. She complained bitterly of all 
this to her husband. 

" Indeed, Mr. Bennet," said she, " it is very hard to 
think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of 
this house, that / should be forced to make way for her^ 
and live to see her take my place in it ! " 

" My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. 
Let us hope- for better things. L et us flatter ourselve s 
that I may be the survivor." 

" This was not very consoling to Mrs. Bennet, and, there- 
fore, instead of making any answer, she went on as before, 

" I cannot bear to think that they should have all 
this estate. If it was not for the entail I should not 
mind it." 

" What should not you mind ? " 

" I should not mind any thing at all." 

" Let us be thankful that you are preserved from a state 
of such insensibility." 
y "I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for any thing 

about the entail. How any one could have the con- 
science to entail away an estate from one's own daughters 
I cannot understand ; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins 
too ! — Why should he have it more than anybody else ? " 

" I leave it to yourself to determine," said Mr. Bennet. 















( 133 ) 



Miss Bingley's letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. 
The very first sentence conyeyed the assurance of their^ 
bdnff all settled in London for the winter, and concluded^ 
wimner brother's regret at not having had time to pay^ 
his respects tg jus friends in ^^rtfprdshire before he left 

Hope was oyer, entirely oyer ; and when Jane could 
attend to the rest of the letter, she found little, except 
the professed affection of the writer, that could give her 
any comfort. Miss Darcy's praise occupied the chief of it. 
Her many attractions were again dwelt on, and Caroline 
boasted joyfully of their increasing intimacy, and ventured 
to predict the accomplishment of the wishes which had 
been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote also with 
great pleasure of her brother's being an inmate of Mr. 
Darcy's house, and mentioned with raptures, some plans 
of the latter with regard to new furniture. 

Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the 
chief of all this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart 
was divided between concern for her sister, and resentment 
against all the others. To Caroline's assertion of her 
brother's being partial to Miss Darcy she paid no credit. 
That he was really fond of Jane, she doubted no more than 
she had ever done ; and much as she had always been 
disposed to like him, she could not think without anger, 
hardly without contempt, on that easiness of temper, that 
want of proper resolution which now made him the slave 
of his designing friends, and led him to sacrifice his own 
happiness to the caprice of their inclinations. Had his 
own happiness, however, been the only sacrifice, he might 



{ 134 ) 

have been allowed to sport with it in what ever manner 
he thought best ; but her sister's was involved in it, as 
she thought he must be sensible himself. It was a subject, 
in short,' on which reflection would be long indulged, and 
must be unavailing. She could think of nothing else, and 
yet whether Bingley's regard had really died away, ot 
were suppressed by his friends' interference ; whether 
he had been aware of Jane's attachment, or whether it 
had escaped his observation ; whichever were the case, 
though her opinion of him must be materially affected 
by the difference, her sister's situation remained the same, 
her peace equally wounded. 

A day or two passed before Jane had courage to speak 
of her feelings to Elizabeth ; but at last on Mrs. Bennct's 
leaving them together, after a longer irritation than usual 
about Netherfield and its master, she could not help 

" Oh ! that my dear mother had more command over 
herself ; she can have no idea of the pain she gives me 
by her continual reflections on him. But I will not 
repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we 
shall all be as we were before." 

Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solicitude, 
but said nothing. 

" You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly colouring ; 
" indeed you have no reason. He may live in my memory 
as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that 
is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing 
to reproach him with. Thank God ! I have not that 
pain. A little time therefore. — I shall certainly trj?^ to 
get the better." 

With a stronger voice she soon added, " I have this 
comfort immediately, that it has not been more than an 
error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harm 
to any one but myself." 

" My dear Jane ! " exclaimed Elizabeth, "you are too_ 
good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness .M^'^cally 
angelic ; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if 


( 135 ) 

I had never done you justice, or loved you as you 

Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, 
and threw back the praise on her sister's warm affection. 

" Nay," said EHzabeth, " this is not fair. You wish to 
think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill 
of any body. / only want to think you perfect, and you 
set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running 
into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of 
universal good will. You need not. There are few people 
whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. 
The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied 
with it ; and every day confirms my belief of the incon- 
sistency of all human characters, and of the little depen- 
dence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit 
or sense. I have met with two instances lately ; one 
I will not mention ; the other is Charlotte's marriage. 
It is unaccountable ! in every view it is unaccountable ! " 

" My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as 
these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not make 
allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. 
Consider Mr. CoUins's respectability, and Charlotte's 
prujient, steady character. Remember that she is one of 
a large family ; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible 
match ; and be ready to believe, for every body's sake, 
that she may feel something like regard and esteem for 
our cousin." 

" To oblige you, I would try to believe almost any 
thing, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief 
as this ; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any 
regard for him, I should only think worse of her under- 
standing, than I now do of her heart. My dear Jane, 
Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly 
man ; you know he is, as well as I do ; and you must 
feel, as well as I do, that the woman who marries him, 
cannot have a proper way of thinking. You shall not% 
defend her, though it is Charlotte Lucas. You shall 
not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning 


( 136 ) 

of principle and integrity, nor endeavour to persuade 
yourself or me, that selfishness is prudence, and insensi- 
bility of danger, security for happiness." 

" I must think your language too strong in speaking 
of both," replied Jane, " and I hope you will be convinced 
of it, by seeing them happy together. But enough of this. 
You alluded to something else. You mentioned two 
instances. I cannot misunderstand you, but I intreat 
you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking that person 
to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We 
must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally 
injured. We must not expect a lively young man to be 
always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often 
nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women 
fancy admiration means more than it does." 

" And men take care that they should." 

"If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified ; 
but I have no idea of there being so much design in the 
world as some persons imagine." 

" I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley's 
conduct to design," said Elizabeth ; " but without 
scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there 
may be error, and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness, 
want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of 
resolution, will do the business." 

" And do you impute it to either of those ? " 

" Yes ; to the last. But if I go on, I shall displease 
you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Stop 
me whilst you can." 

"You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence 

" Yes, in conjunction with his friend." 

" I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence 
him ? They can only wish his happiness, and if he is 
attached to me, no other woman can secure it." 

" Your first position is false. They may wish many 
things besides his happiness ; they may wish his increase 
of wealth and consequence ; they may msh him to marry 


( 137 ) 

a girl who has all the importance; of money, great con- 
nections, and pride." 

" Beyond a doubt, they do wish him to chuse Miss 
Darcy," replied Jane ; " but this may be from better 
feelings than you are supposing. They have known her 
much longer than they have known me ; no wonder if they 
love her better. But, whatever may be their own wishes, 
it is very unlikely they should have opposed their brother's. 
What sister would think herself at liberty to do it, unless 
there were something very objectionable ? If they believed 
him attached to me, they would not try to part us ; if he 
were so, they could not succeed. By supposing such an 
affection, you make every body acting unnaturally and 
wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not distress me by the 
idea. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken — or, 
at least, it is slight, it is nothing in comparison of what 
I should feel in thinking ill of him or his sisters. Let me 
take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be 

EHzabeth could not oppose such a wish ; and from this 
time Mr. Bingley's name was scarcely ever mentioned 
between them. 

Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at 
his returning no more, and though a day seldom passed 
in which Elizabeth did not account for it clearly, there 
seemed little chance of her ever considering it with less 
perplexity. Her daughter endeavoured to convince her 
of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions 
to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and 
transient liking, which ceased when he saw her no more ; 
but though the probability of the statement was admitted 
at the time, she had the same story to repeat every day. 
Mrs. Bennet's best comfort was, that Mr. Bingley must 
be down again in the summer. 

Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. " So, 
Lizzy," said he one day, " your sister is crossed in love 
I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl 
likes to be crossed in love a little now and then. It is 


( 138 ) 

something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction 
among her companions. When is your turn to come ? 
You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now 
is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to 
disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let 
Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would 
jiltyou creditably." 
^ Thank you. Sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy 
/ I j^^^^- W^ must not all expect Jane's good fortune." 
<. ' ^ « True," said Mr. Bennet, " but it is a comfort to think 
that, whatever of that kind may befal you, you have an 
affectionate mother who will always make the most of it." 
Mr. Wickham's society was of material service in dis- 
pelling the gloom, which the late perverse occurrences had 
thrown on many of the Longbourn family. They saw 
him often, and to his other recommendations was now 
added that of general unreserve. The whole of what 
Elizabeth had already heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, 
and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly 
acknowledged and publicly canvassed ; and every body 
was pleased to think how much they had always disliked 
Mr. Darcy before they had known any thing of the matter. 
Miss Bennet was the only creature who could suppose 
there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case, 
unknown to the society of Hertfordshire ; her mild and 
steady candour always pleaded for allowances, and urged 
the possibility of mistakes — but by everybody else 
Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men. 


( 139 ) 


After a week spent in professions of love and schemes 
of felicity, Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Char- 
lotte by the arrival of Saturday. The pain of separation, 
/however, might be alleviated on his side, by preparations 
for the reception of his bride, as he had reason to hope, 
that shortly after his next return into Hertfordshire, the 
day would be fixed that was to make him the happiest 
of men. He took leave of his relations at Longbourn 
with as much solemnity as before ; wished his fair cousins 
health and happiness again, and promised their father 
another letter of thanks. 

On the following Monday, Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure 
of receiving her brother and his wife, who came as usual 
to spend the Christmas at Longbourn. ^^iJ^jidwo: jy^s 
a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior to his 
sister as well by nature as education. TEe Netherfield 
Tadies would have had difficulty in believing that a man 
who lived by trade, and within ^iew of his own warehouses, 
could have been so well bred and agreeable. Mrs. Gardiner, 
who was several years younger than Mrs. Bennet and 
Mrs. Philips, was an amiable, intelligent, elegant woman, 
and a great favourite with all her Longbourn nieces. 
Between the two eldest and herself especially, there sub- 
sisted a very particular regard. They had frequently 
been staying with her in town. 

The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business on her arrival, 
was to distribute her presents and describe the newest 
fashions. When this was done, she had a less active part 
to play. It became her turn to listen. Mrs. Bennet had 
many grievances to relate, and much to complain of. 
They had all been very ill-used since she last saw her 
sister. Two of her girls had been on the point of marriage, 
and after all there was nothing in it. 


( 140 ) 

" I do not blame Jane," she continued, " for Jane 
would have got Mr. Bingley, if she could. But, Lizzy ! 
Oh, sister ! it is very hard to think that she might have 
been Mr. Collins' s wife by this time, had not it been for 
her own perverseness. He made her an offer in this very 
room, and she refused him. The consequence of it is, 
that Lady Lucas will have a daughter married before I 
have, and that Longbourn estate is just as much entailed 
as ever. The Lucases are very artful people indeed, sister. 
They are all for what they can get. I am sorry to say 
it of them, but so it is. It makes me very nervous and 
poorly, to be thwarted so in my own family, and to have 
neighbours who think of themselves before anybody else. 
However, your coming just at this time is the greatest 
of comforts, and I am very glad to hear what you tell 
us, of long sleeves." 

Mrs. Gardiner, to whom the chief of this news had been 
given before, in the course of Jane and Elizabeth's corre- 
spondence with her, made her sister a slight answer, and 
in compassion to her nieces turned the conversation. 

When alone with Elizabeth afterwards, she spoke more 
on the subject. " It seems likely to have been a desirable 
match for Jane," said she. " I am sorry it went off. 
But these things happen so often ! A young man, such as 
you describe Mr. Bingley, so easily falls in love with 
a pretty girl for a few weeks, and when accident separates 
them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of inconstancies 
are very frequent." 

" An excellent consolation in its way," said Elizabeth, 
" but it will not do for its. We do not suffer by accident 
It does not often happen that the interference of friends 
will persuade a young man of independent fortune to 
think no more of a girl, whom he was violently in love 
with only a few days before." 

" But that expression of ' violently in love ' is so 
hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me 
very httle idea. It is as often applied to feelings which 
arise from an half-hour's acquaintance, as to a real, 


_ ( 141 ) 

strong attachment. Pray, how violent was Mr. Bingley's 
love ? " 

" I never saw a more promising inclination. He was 
growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly 
engrossed by her. Every time they met, it was more 
decided and remarkable. At his own ball he offended two 
or three young ladies, by not asking them to dance, and 
I spoke to him twice myself, mthout receiving an answer. 
Could there be finer symptoms ? Is not general incivility 
the very essence of love ? " 

" Oh, yes ! — of that kind of love which I suppose him 
to have felt. Poor Jane ! I am sorry for her, because, 
with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. 
It had better have happened to you, Lizzy ; you would 
hav^ laughed yourself out of it sooner. But do you think 
she would be prevailed on to go back with us ? Change 
of scene might be of service — and perhaps a little relief 
from home, may be as useful as anything." 

Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased with this proposal, 
and felt persuaded of her sister's ready acquiescence. 

" I hope," added Mrs. Gardiner, " that no consideration 
with regard to this young man will influence her. We live 
in so different a part of town, all our connections are so 
different, and, as you well know, we go out so little, that 
it is very improbable they should meet at all, unless he 
really comes to see her." 

" And that is quite impossible ; for he is now in the 
custody of his friend, and Mr. Darcy would no more suffer 
him to call on Jane in such a part of London ! My dear 
aunt, how could you think of it ? Mr. Darcy may perhaps 
have heard of such a place as Gracechurch Street, but he 
would hardly think a month's ablution enough to cleanse 
him from its impurities, were he once to enter it ; and 
depend upon it, Mr. Bingley never stirs without him." 

" So much the better. I hope they will not meet at 
all. But does not Jane correspond with the sister ? She 
will not be able to help calling." 

" She will drop the acquaintance entirely." 


( 142 ) 

But in spite of the certainty in wKich Elizabeth affected 
to place this point, as well as the still more interesting 
one of Bingley's being withheld from seeing Jane, she 
felt a solicitude on the subject which convinced her, on 
examination, that she did not consider it entirely hopeless. 
It was possible, and sometimes she thought it probable, 
that his affection might be re-animated, and the influence 
of his friends successfully combated by the more natural 
influence of Jane's attractions. 

Miss Bennet accepted her aunt's invitation with 
pleasure ; and the Bingleys were no otherwise in her 
thoughts at the time, than as she hoped that, by Caroline's 
not living in the same house with her brother, she might 
occasionally spend a morning with her, without any danger 
of seeing him. 

The Gardiners staid a week at Longbourn ; and what 
with the Philipses, the Lucases, and the officers, there 
was not a day without its engagement. Mrs. Bennet 
had so carefully provided for the entertainment of her 
brother and sister, that they did not once sit down to 
a family dinner. When the engagement was for home, 
some of the officers always made part of it, of which officers 
Mr. Wickham was sure to be one ; and on these occasions, 
Mrs. Gardiner, rendered suspicious by Elizabeth's warm 
commendation of him, narrowly observed them both. 
Without supposing them, from what she saw, to be very 
seriously in love, their preference of each other was plain 
enough to make her a little uneasy ; and she resolved to 
speak to Elizabeth on the subject before she left Hertford- 
shire, and represent to her the imprudence of encouraging 
such an attachment. 

To Mrs. Gardiner, Wickham had one means of affording 
pleasure, unconnected with his general powers. About 
ten or a dozen years ago, before her marriage, she had 
spent a considerable time in that very part of Derbyshire, 
to which he belonged. They had, therefore, many acquain- 
tance in common ; and, though Wickham had been little 
there since the death of Darcy's father, five years before, 


( 143 ) 

it was yet in his power to give her fresher intelligence of 
her former friends, than she had been in the way of 

Mrs. Gardiner had seen Pemberley, and known the late 
Mr. Darcy by character perfectly well. Here consequently 
was an inexhaustible subject of discourse. In comparing 
her recollection of Pemberley, with the minute description 
which Wickham could give, and in bestowing her tribute 
of praise on the character of its late possessor, she was 
delighting both him and herself. On being made acquainted 
with the present Mr. Darcy' s treatment of him, she tried 
to remember something of that gentleman's reputed dis- 
position when quite a lad, which might agree with it, and 
was confident at last, that she recollected having heard 
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy formerly spoken of as a very proud, 
ill-natuved boy. 


( 144 ) 


Mrs. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punctually 
and kindly given on the first favourable opportunity of 
speaking to her alone ; after honestly telling her what 
she thought, she thus went on ; 

" You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love 
merely because you are warned against it ; and, therefore, 
I am not afraid of speaking openly. Seriously, I would 
have you be on your guard. Do not involve yourself, 
or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the 
want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I have 
nothing to say against him ; he is a most interesting 
young man ; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, 
I should think you could not do better. But as it is — you 
must not let your fancy run away with you. You have 
sense, and we all expect you to use it. Your father would 
depend on your resolution and good conduct, I am sure. 
You must not disappoint your father." 

" My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed." 

" Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious like- 

" Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. I will 
take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. He shall 
not be in love with me, if I can prevent it." 

" Elizabeth, you are not serious now." 

" I beg your pardon. I will try again. At p rese j*- T ^ 
^?tJSLlS£fi--3Kii]l3^^ ; no, I certainly am not. 

BiSFTieis, beyond all companson, the most agreeable 
man I ever saw — and if he becomes really attached to me — - 
I believe it will be better that he should not. I see-the 
imjvn^jjpnpp pf Jf : — Qh ! thol abomiuablc Mr. Darcy ! — 
Myfather's opinion of me does me the greatest honor; 
and I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father, however, 
is partial to Mr. Wickham. In short, my dear aunt, 


( 145 ) 

I should be very sorry to be the means of making any 
of you unhappy ; but since we see every day that where 
there is affection, young people are seldom withheld by 
immediate want of fortune, from entering into engage- 
ments with each other, how can I promise to be wiser 
than so many of my fellow creatures if I am tempted, 
or how am I even toj^now- that it j^ouM^be-^^ to 
resist'T'"!OTl:hatnrcan "promise you, therefore, is not to 
^"m^Si hurry. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself 
his first object. When I am in company with him, I will 
not be wishing. Inshort, I wiH_.da. IILY. b £gt . ' ' 

" Perhaps it wiiri5easwell7 if you discourage his coming 
here so very often. At least, you should not remind your 
Mother of inviting him." 

" As I did the other day," said EHzabeth, with a con- 
scious smile ; " very true, it will be wise in me to 
refrain from that. But do not imagine that he is always 
here so often. It is on your account that he has been so 
frequently invited this week. You know my mother's 
ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her 
friends. But really, and upon my honour, I will try to 
do what I think to be wisest ; and now, I hope you are 

Her aunt assured her that she was ; and Elizabeth 
having thanked her for the kindness of her hints, they 
parted ; a wonderful instance of advice being given on 
such a point, without being resented. 

Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon after it had 
been quitted by the Gardiners and Jane ; but as he took 
up his abode with the Lucases, his arrival was no great 
inconvenience to Mrs. Bennet. His marriage was now 
fast approaching, and she was at length so far resigned 
as to think it inevitable, and even repeatedly to say in 
an ill-natured tone that she " wished they might be happy." 
Thursday was to be the wedding day, and on Wednesday 
Miss Lucas paid her farewell visit ; and when she rose 
to take leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her mother's ungrac- 

p.p. L 

( 146 ) 

ious and reluctant good wishes, and sincerely affected 
herself, accompanied her out of the room. As they went 
down stairs together, Charlotte said, 

" I shall depend on hearing from you very often, 

" That you certainly shall." 

" And I have another favour to ask. Will you come 
and see me ? " 

" We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire." 

*' I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise 
me, therefore, to come to Hunsford." 

Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw little 
pleasure in the visit. 

" My father and Maria are to come to me in March," 
added Charlotte, " and I hope you will consent to be of 
the party. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome to me 
as either of them." 

The wedding took place ; the bride and bridegroom set 
off for Kent from the church door, and every body had 
as much to say or to hear on the subject as usual. Eliza- 
beth soon heard from her friend ; and their correspon- 
dence was as regular and frequent as it had ever been ; 
that it should be equally unreserved was impossible. 
Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that 
all the comfort of intimacy was over, and, though 
determined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was for 
the sake of what had been, rather than what was. Char- 
lotte's first letters were received with a good deal of 
eagerness ; there could not but be curiosity to know how 
she would speak of her new home, how she would like 
Lady Catherine, and how happy she would dare pronounce 
herself to be ; though, when the letters were read, Eliza- 
beth felt that Charlotte expressed herself on every point 
exactly as she might have foreseen. She wrote cheerfully, 
seemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing 
which she could not praise. The house, furniture, neigh- 
bourhood, and roads, were all to her taste, and Lady 
Catherine's behaviour was most friendly and obliging. 



( 147 ) 

It was Mr. CoUins's picture of Hunsford and Rosings 
rationally softened ; and Elizabeth perceived that she 
must wait for her own visit there, to know the rest. 

Jane had already written a few lines to her sister to 
announce their safe arrival in London ; and when she 
wrote again, Elizabeth hoped it would be in her power 
to say something of the Bingleys. 

Her impatience for this second letter was as well 
rewarded as impatience generally is. Jane had been a week 
in town, without either seeing or hearing from Caroline. 
She accounted for it, however, by supposing that her last 
letter to her friend from Longbourn, had by some accident 
been lost. 

" My aunt," she continued, " is going to-morrow into 
that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity 
of calling in Grosvenor-street." 

She wrote again when the visit was paid, and she had 
seen Miss Bingley. " I did not think Caroline in spirits," 
were her words, " but she was very glad to see me, and 
reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to 
London. I was right, therefore ; my last letter had never 
reached her. I enquired after their brother, of course. 
He -was well, but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy, that 
they scarcely ever saw him. I found that Miss Darcy 
was expected to dinner. I wish I could see her. My 
visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst were going 
out. I dare say I shall soon see them here." 

Elizabeth shook her head over this letter. It con- 
vinced her, that,ajC)cidfiaJ;wxml^ 
BijEigle^Jue£-sistep^«-b^ng i«^lown. 

Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of him. 
She endeavoured to persuade herself that she did not 
regret it ; but she could no longer be blind to Miss Bingley's 
inattention. After waiting at home every morning for 
a fortnight, and inventing every evening a fresh excuse 
for her, the visitor did at last appear ; but the shortness 
of her stay, and yet more, the alteration of her manner, 
would allow Jane to deceive herself no longer. The letter 

L 2 which 

( 148 ) 

which she wrote on this occasion to her sister, will prove 
what she felt. 

1«^ |lL/ "My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of 

\r'^ njjy^triumphing in her better judgment, at my expence, when 
I ft^ V\ I confesft> «w«f4J'^4aJ3fl.i:^ been entirely deeeived in Miss 

\/ .. BinglgyJ^^I^^gHd-iaiuape. But, my dear sister, though 

kW^^ the event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate 

^y^ - , if I still assert, that, considering what her behaviour was, 

P'l rt ifH 'my confidence was as natural as your suspicion. I do 

» V * I not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate 

^ with me, but if the same circumstances were to happen 

^ again, I am sure I should be deceived again. Caroline 

did not return my visit till yesterday ; and not a note, 
not a line, did I receive in the mean time. When she did 
come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it ; 
she made a slight, formal, apology, for not calling before, 
said not a word of wishing to see me again, and was in 
every respect so altered a creature, that when she went 
away, I was perfectly resolved to continue the acquaintance 
no longer. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her. 
She was very wrong in singling me out as she did ; I can 
safely say, that every advance to intimacy began on her 
side. But I pity her, because she must feel that she has 
been acting wrong, and because I am very sure that 
anxiety for her brother is the cause of it. I need not 
explain myself farther ; and though xve know this anxiety 
to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account 
for her behaviour to me ; and so deservedly dear as he 
is to his sister, whatever anxiety she may feel on his 
behalf, is natural and amiable. I cannot but wonder, 
however, at her having any such fears now, because, if 
he had at all cared about me, we must have met long, 
long ago. He knows of my being in town, I am certain, 
from something she said herself ; and yet it should seem 
by her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade 
herself that he is really partial to Miss Darcy. I cannot 
understand it. If I were not afraid of judging harshly, 



( 149 ) 

I should be almost tempted to say, that there is a strong 
appearance of dupHcity in all this. But I will endeavour 
to banish every painful thought, and think only of what 
will make me happy, your affection, and the invariable 
kindness of my dear uncle and aunt. Let me hear from 
you very soon. Miss Bingley said something of his never 
returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, 
but not with any certainty. We had better not mention it. 
I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts 
from our friends at Hunsford. Pray go to see them, with 
Sir William and Maria. I am sure you will be very 
comfortable there. 

" Your's, &c." 

This letter gave EHzabeth some pain ; but her spirits 
returned as she considered that Jane would no longer bp 
duped, by the sister at least. All expectation from the 
brother was now absolutely over. She would not even 
wish for any renewal of his attentions. His character 
sunk on every review of it ; and as a punishment for 
him, as well as a possible advantage to Jane, she seriously 
hoped he might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's sister, as, 
by Wickham's account, she would make him abundantly 
regret what he had thrown away. 

Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of 
her promise concerning that gentleman, and required 
information ; and Elizabeth had such to send as might 
rather give contentment to her aunt than to herself. 
His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were 
over, he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth 
was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it 
and write of it without material pain. Her heart had 
been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied 
with believing that sJie would have been his only choice, 
had fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten 
thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the 
young lady, to whom he was now rendering himself agree- 
able; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in his 


( 150 ) 

case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his 
wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, could 
be more natural ; and while able to suppose that it cost 
him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to 
allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, and could 
very sincerely wish him happy. 

All this was acknowledged to Mrs. Gardiner ; and after 
relating the circumstances, she thus went on : — " I am 
now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much 
in love ; for had I really experienced that pure and 
elevating passion, I should at present detest his very 
name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings 
are not only cordial towards him ; they are even impartial 
towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her 
at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her 
a very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this. 
My watchfulness has been effectual ; and though I should 
certainly be a more interesting object to all my acquain- 
tance, were I distractedly in love with him, I cannot say 
that I regret my comparative insignificance. Importance 
may sometimes be purchased too dearly. Kitty and Lydia 
take his defection much more to heart than I do. They are 
young in the waj^s of the world, and not yet open to the 
mortifying conviction that handsome young men must 
have something to live on, as well as the plain." 


( 151 ) 


With no greater events than these in the Longbourn 
family, and otherwise diversified by httle beyond the walks 
to Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did 
January and February pass away. March was to take 
Elizabeth to Hunsfqrd. She had not at first thought very 
sMousljT of 'going~tKrther ; but Charlotte, she soon found, 
was depending on the plan, and she gradually learned to 
consider it herself with greater pleasure as well as greater 
certainty. Absence had increased her desire of seeing 
Charlotte again, and weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins. 
There was novelty in the scheme, and as, with such a 
mother and such uncompanionable sisters, home could 
not be faultless, a little change was not unwelcome for 
its own sake. The journey would moreover give her a peep 
at Jane ; and, in short, as the time drew near, she would 
have been very sorry for any delay. Every thing, however, 
went on smoothly, and was finally settled according to 
Charlotte's first sketch. She was to accompany Sir William 
and his second daughter. The improvement of spending 
a night in London was added in time, and the plan became 
perfect as plan could be. 

The only pain was in leaving her father, who would 
certainly miss her, and who, when it came to the point, 
so little liked her going, that he told her to write to him, 
and almost promised to answer her letter. 

The farewell between herself and Mr. Wickham was 
perfectly friendly ; on his side even more. His present 
pursuit could not make him forget that Elizabeth had 
been the first to excite and to deserve his attention, the 
first to listen and to pity, the first to be admired ; and 
in his manner of bidding her adieu, wishing her every 
enjoyment, reminding her of what she was to expect in 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion of 


( 152 ) 

her — their opinion of every body — would always coincide, 
there was a solicitude, an interest which she felt must 
ever attach her to him with a most sincere regard ; and 
she parted from him convinced, that whether married or 
single, he must always be her model of the amiable and 

Her fellow-travellers the next day, were not of a kind 
to make her think him less agreeable. Sir William Lucas, 
and his daughter Maria, a good humoured girl, but as 
empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that could 
be worth hearing, and were listened to with about as much 
delight as the rattle of the chaise. Elizabeth loved 
absurdities, but she had known Sir William's too long. 
He could tell her nothing new of the wonders of his 
presentation and knighthood ; and his civilities were worn 
out like his information. 

It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they 
began it so early as to be in Gracechurch-street by noon. 
As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a 
drawing-room window watching their arrival ; when they 
entered the passage she was there to welcome them, and 
Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her face, was pleased to see 
it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were a troop of 
little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's 
appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing- 
room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a 
twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was joy 
and kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away ; 
the morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at 
one of the theatres. 

Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their 
first subject was her sister ; and she was more grieved 
than astonished to hear, in reply to her minute enquiries, 
that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, ^ 
there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, how- 
ever, to hope, that they would not continue long. Mrs. 
Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Miss Bingley's 
visit in Gracechurch-street, and repeated conversations 


( 153 ) 

occurring at different times between Jane and herself, 
which proved that the former had, from her heart, given 
up the acquaintance. 

Mrs. Gardiner then raUied her niece on Wickham's 
desertion, and compHmented her on bearing it so well. 

" But, my dear Elizabeth," she added, " what sort of 
girl is Miss King ? I should be sorry to think our friend 

" Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matri- 
monial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent 
motive ? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin ? 
Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, 
because it would be imprudent ; and now, because he is 
trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you 
want to find out that he is mercenary." 

" If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, 
I shall know what to think." 

" She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no 
harm of her." 

" But he paid her not the smallest attention, till her 
grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune." 

" No — why should he ? If it was not allowable for 
him to gain my affections, because I had no money, what 
occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom 
he did not care about, and who was equally poor ? " 

" But there seems indelicacy in directing his attentions 
towards her, so soon after this event." 

" A man in distressed circumstances has not time for 
all those elegant decorums which other j^cople may 
observe. If she does not object to it, why should we?" 

" Her not objecting, does not justify him. It only 
she^vvs her being deficient in something herself — sense or 

" Well," cried Elizabeth, " have it as you choose. He 
shall be mercenary, and she shall be foolish." 

" No, Lizzy, that is what I do not choose. I should be 
sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived 
so long in Derbyshire." 


( 154 ) 

" Oh ! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young 
men who live in Derbyshire ; and their intimate friends 
who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick 
of them all. Thank Heaven ! I am going to-morrow where 
I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who 
has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid 
men are the only ones worth knowing, after all." 

-^Take^eaXfi^Xizzy ; that speech savours stro ngly of 

Before they were separated by the conclusion of the 
play, she had the unexpected happiness of an invitation 
to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure 
which they proposed taking in the summer. 

" We have not quite determined how far it shall carry 
us," said Mrs. Gardiner, " but perhaps to the Lakes." 

No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, 
and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and 
grateful. " My dear, dear aunt," she rapturously cried, 
" what delight ! what felicity ! You give me fresh life 
and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What 
are men to rocks and mountains ? Oh ! what hours of 
transport we shall spend ! And when we do return, it shall 
not be like other travellers, without being able to give 
one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we 
have gone — we Tvill recollect what we have seen. Lakes, 
mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled together in our 
imaginations ; nor, when we attempt to describe any 
particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative 
situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable 
than those of the generality of travellers." 


( 155 ) 


Every object in the next day's journey was new and 
interesting to Elizabeth ; and her spirits were In a state 
for enjoyment ; for she had seen her sister looking so well 
as to banish all fear for her health, and the prospect of her 
northern tour was a constant source of delight. 

When they left the high road for the lane to Hunsford, 
every eye was in search of the Parsonage, and every 
turning expected to bring it in view. The paling of Rosings 
Park was their boundary on one side. Elizabeth smiled 
at the recollection of all that she had heard of its in- 

At length the Parsonage was discernible. The garden 
sloping to the road, the house standing in it, the green 
pales and the laurel hedge, every thing declared they 
were arriving. Mr. Collins and Charlotte appeared at the 
door, and the carriage stopped at the small gate, which 
led by a short gravel walk to the house, amidst the nods 
and smiles of the whole party. In a moment they were 
all out of the chaise, rejoicing at the sight of each other. 
Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure, 
and Elizabeth was more and more satisfied with coming, 
when she found herself so affectionately received. She 
saw instantly that her cousin's manners were not altered 
by his marriage ; his formal civility was just what it had 
been, and he detained her some minutes at the gate to 
hear and satisfy his enquiries after all her family. They 
were then, with no other delay than his pointing out the 
neatness of the entrance, taken into the house ; and as 
soon as they were in the parlour, he welcomed them a 
second time with ostentatious formality to his humble 
abode, and punctually repeated all his wife's offers of 

Elizabeth was prepared to see him in his glory ; and 


( 156 ) 

she could not help fancying that in displaying the good 
proportion of the room, its aspect and its furniture, he 
addressed himself particularly to her, as if wishing to 
make her feel what she had lost in refusing him. But 
though every thing seemed neat and comfortable, she 
was not able to gratify him by any sigh of repentance ; 
and rather looked with wonder at her friend that she 
could have so cheerfid an air, with such a companion. 
When Mr. Collins said any thing of which his wife might 
reasonably be ashamed, which certainly was not unseldom, 
she involuntarily turned her eye on Charlotte. Once or 
twice she could discern a faint blush ; but in general 
Charlotte msely did not hear. After sitting long enough 
to admire every article of furniture in the room, from the 
sideboard to the fender, to give an account of their journey 
and of all that had happened in London, Mr. ColHns 
invited them to take a stroll in the garden, which was large 
and well laid out, and to the cultivation of which he 
attended himself. To work in his garden was one of his 
most respectable pleasures ; and Elizabeth admired the 
command of countenance with which Charlotte talked of 
the healthfulness of the exercise, and owned she encouraged 
it as much as possible. Here, leading the way through 
every walk and cross walk, and scarcely allowing them an 
interval to utter the praises he asked for, every view was 
pointed out with a minuteness which left beauty entirely 
behind. He could number the fields in every direction, 
and could tell how many trees there were in the most 
distant clump. But of all the views which his garden, 
or which the country, or the kingdom could boast, none 
were to be compared with the prospect of Rosings, afforded 
by an opening in the trees that bordered the park nearly 
opposite the front of his house. It was a handsome 
modern building, well situated on rising ground. 

From his garden, Mr. Collins would have led them round 
his two meadows, but the ladies not having shoes to 
encounter the remains of a white frost, turned back ; and 
while Sir William accompanied him, Charlotte took her 


( 157 ) 

sister and friend over the house, extremely well pleased, 
probably, to have the opportunity of shewing it without 
her husband's help. It was rather small, but well built 
and convenient ; and every thing was fitted up and 
arranged with a neatness and consistency of which Eliza- 
beth gave Charlotte all the credit. When Mr. Collins 
could be forgotten, there was really a great air of comfort 
throughout, and by Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, 
Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten. 

She had already learnt that Lady Catherine was still 
in the country. It was spoken of again while they were 
at dinner, when Mr. Collins joining in, observed, 

" Yes, Miss Elizabeth, j^ou will have the honour of 
seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh on the ensuing Sunday 
at church, and I need not say you will be delighted with 
her. She is all affability and condescension, and I doubt not 
but you will be honoured with some portion of her notice 
when service is over. I have scarcely any hesitation in say- 
ing that she will include you and my sister Maria in every 
invitation with which she honours us during your stay 
here. Her behaviour to my dear Charlotte is charming. 
We dine at Rosings twice every week, and are never 
allowed to walk home. Her ladyship's carriage is regularly 
ordered for us. I should say, one of her ladyship's carriages, 
for she has several." 

" Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible woman 
indeed," added Charlotte, " and a most attentive neigh- 

" Very true, my dear, that is exactly what I say. She 
is the sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too 
much deference." 

The evening was spent chiefly in talking over Hertford- 
shire news, and telling again what had been already 
written ; and when it closed, Elizabeth in the solitude 
of her chamber had to meditate upon Charlotte's degree 
of contentment, to understand her address in guiding, 
and composure in bearing with her husband, and to 
acknowledge that it was all done very well. She had also 


( 158 ) 

to anticipate how her visit would pass, the quiet tenor 
of their usual employments, the vexatious interruptions 
of Mr. Collins, and the gaieties of their intercourse with 
Rosings. A lively imagination soon settled it all. 

About the middle of the next day, as she was in her 
room getting ready for a walk, a sudden noise below 
seemed to speak the whole house in confusion ; and after 
listening a moment, she heard somebody running up stairs 
in a violent hurry, and calling loudly after her. She 
opened the door, and met Maria in the landing place, who, 
breathless with agitation, cried out, 

" Oh, my dear Eliza ! pray make haste and come 
into the dining-room, for there is such a sight to be seen ! 
I will not tell you what it is. Make haste, and come down 
this moment." 

Elizabeth asked questions in vain ; Maria would tell 
her nothing more, and down they ran into the dining- 
room, which fronted the lane, in quest of this wonder ; 
it was two ladies stopping in a low phaeton at the garden 

" And is this all ? " cried Elizabeth. " I expected at 
least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is 
nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter ! " 

" La ! my dear," said Maria quite shocked at the 
mistake, "it is not Lady Catherine. The old lady is 
Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them. The other is Miss 
De Bourgh. Only look at her. She is quite a little 
creature. Who would have thought she could be so thin 
and small ! " 

" She is abominably rude to keep Charlotte out of doors 
in all this wind. Why does she not come in ? " 

" Oh ! Charlotte says, she hardly ever does. It is the 
greatest of favours when Miss De Bourgh comes in." 

" I like her appearance," said Eliizabeth, struck with 
other ideas. " She looks sickly and cross. — Yes, she will 
do for him very well. She ^vill make him a very proper 

Mr. Collins and Charlotte were both standing at the 


( 159 ) 

ite in conversation with the ladies ; and Sir William, 
Elizabeth's high diversion, was stationed in the door- 
ray, in earnest contemplation of the greatness before 
im, and constantly bowing whenever Miss De Bourgh 
looked that way. 

At length there was nothing more to be said ; the 
ladies drove on, and the others returned into the house. 
Mr. Collins no sooner saw the two girls than he began 
to congratulate them on their good fortune, which Char* 
lotte explained by letting them know that the whole 
party was asked to dine at Rosings the next day. 


( 160 ) 


Mr. CoUins's triumph in consequence of this invitation 
was complete. The power of displaying the grandeur of 
his patroness to his wondering visitors, and of letting them 
see her civility towards himself and his wife, was exactly 
what he had wished for ; and that an opportunity of 
doing it should be given so soon, was such an instance of 
Lady Catherine's condescension as he knew not how to 
admire enough. 

" I confess," said he, " that I should not have been at 
all surprised by her Ladyship's asking us on Sunday to 
drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. I rather 
expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it 
would happen. But who could have foreseen such an 
attention as this ? Who could have imagined that we 
should receive an invitation to dine there (an invitation 
moreover including the whole party) so immediately after 
your arrival ! " 

" I am the less surprised at what has happened," 
replied Sir William, " from that knowledge of what the 
manners of the great really are, which my situation in 
life has allowed me to acquire. About the Court, such 
instances of elegant breeding are not uncommon." 

Scarcely any thing was talked of the whole day or next 
morning, but their visit to Rosings. Mr. Collins was 
carefully instructing them in what they were to expect, 
that the sight of such rooms, so many servants, and so 
splendid a dinner might not wholly overpower them. 

When the ladies were separating for the toilette, he said 
to Elizabeth, 

" Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about 
your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that 
elegance of dress in us, which becomes herself and daughter. 
I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your 


( 161 ) 


^■any thing more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse 

^pof you for being simply dressed. She likes to have the 

^distinction oijr:§,ak4JXe^erved." " ""^ "^" 

While tifiey were dressing, he came two or three times 

to their different doors, to recommend their being quick, 

as Lady Catherine very much objected to be kept waiting 

for her dinner. — Such formidable accounts of her Ladyship, 

and her manner of living, quite frightened Maria Lucas, 

who had been little used to company, and she looked 

forward to her introduction at Rosings, with as much 

apprehension, as her father had done to his presentation 

at St. James's. 

As the weather was fine, they had a pleasant walk of 
about half a mile across the park. — Every park has its 
beauty and its prospects ; and Elizabeth saw much to 
be pleased with, though she could not be in such raptures 
as Mr. Collins expected the scene to inspire, and was but 
slightly affected by his enumeration of the windows in 
front of the house, and his relation of what the glazing 
altogether had originally cost Sir Lewis De Bourgh. 

When they ascended the steps to the hall, Maria's 
alarm was every moment increasing, and even Sir William 
did not look perfectly calm. — Elizabeth's courage did not 
fail her. She had heard nothing of Lady Catherine that 
spoke her awful from any extraordinary talents or miracu- 
lous virtue, and the mere stateliness of money and rank, 
she thought she could witness without trepidation. 

From the entrance hall, of which Mr. Collins pointed 
out, with a rapturous air, the fine proportion and finished 
ornaments, they followed the servants through an anti- 
chamber, to the room where Lady Catherine, her daughter, 
and Mrs. Jenkinson were sitting. — Her Ladyship, with 
great condescension, arose to receive them ; and as Mrs. 
Collins had settled it with her husband that the office of 
introduction should be her's, it was performed in a proper 
manner, without any of those apologies and thanks which 
he would have thought necessary, 
p. p. M In 

( 162 ) 

In spite of having been at St. James's, Sir William was 
so completely awed, by the grandeur surrounding him, that 
he had but just courage enough to make a very low bow, 
and take his seat without saying a word ; and his daughter, 
frightened almost out of her senses, sat on the edge of her 
chair, not knowing which way to look. Elizabeth found 
herself quite equal to the scene, and could observe the three 
ladies before her composedly. — Lady Catherine Avas a tall, 
large woman, with strongly-marked features, which might 
once have been handsome. Her air was not conciliating, nor 
was her manner of receiving them, such as to make her 
visitors forget their inferior rank. She was not rendered 
formidable by silence ; but whatever she said, was spoken 
in so authoritative a tone, as marked her self-importance, 
and brought Mr. Wickham immediately to Elizabeth's 
mind ; and from the observation of the day altogether, 
she believed Lady Catherine to be exactly what he had 

When, after examining the mother, in whose coun- 
tenance and deportment she soon found some resemblance 
of Mr. Darcy, she turned her eyes on the daughter, she 
could almost have joined in Maria's astonishment, atJief 
b^ig^sp .thi»r«nd' sosmalL TW^^ac "^^^hfr in fig"^^ 
noiLiacje, ajiy likeness^JietweeuxJJieJadies. Miss De Bourgh 
was pale and sickly ; her f€i at.nrp.s;,J^hough not plain, were 
insignificant ; and she spoke ^'"^J^jjlth^ eiJf'ffpf^VtrWj ^ w 
vokjtV-Xy "Mrs. Jen1dns(m;"i!i'^wno3e appearance.. thexa was 
nothing remarkable, "and "wKo was entirely engaged in 
listening to what she said, and placing a screen in the 
proper direction before her eyes. 

After sitting a few minutes, they were all sent to one 
of the windows, to admire the view, Mr. Collins attending 
them to point out its beauties, and Lady Catherine kindly 
informing them that it was much better worth looking at 
in the summer. 

The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there were 
all the servants, and all the articles of plate which Mr. 
Collins had promised ; and, as he had likewise foretold, 


{ 163 ) 

ship's desire, and looked as if he felt that life could furnish 
nothing greater. — He carved, and ate, and praised with 
delighted alacrity ; and every dish was commended, first 
by him, and then by Sir William, who was now enough 
recovered to echo whatever his son in law said, in a manner 
which Elizabeth wondered "Lady Catherine could bear. 
But Lady Catherine seemed gratified by their excessive 
admiration, and gave most gracious smiles, especially when 
any dish on the table proved a novelty to them. The 
party did not supply much conversation. Elizabeth was 
ready to speak whenever there was an opening, but she 
was seated between Charlotte and Miss De Bourgh — the 
former of whom was engaged in listening to Lady Catherine, 
and the latter said not a word to her all dinner time. 
Mrs. Jenkinson was chiefly employed in watching how 
little Miss De Bourgh ate, pressing her to try some other 
dish, and fearing she were indisposed. Maria thought 
speaking out of the question, and the gentlemen did 
nothing but eat and admire. 

When the ladies returned to the drawing room, there 
was little to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, 
which she did without any intermission till coffee came 
in, delivering her opinion on every subject in so decisive 
a manner as proved that she was not used to have her 
judgment controverted. She enquired into Charlotte's 
domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, and gave her 
a great deal of advice, as to the management of them all ; 
told her how every thing ought to be regulated in so 
small a family as her's, and instructed her as to the care 
of her cows and her poultry. Elizabeth found that 

nothing was beneath this great LaSy V^ tt cntion r which 
could furnish HeFwith""airogg§t^^ others. 

liTTBFTntenmlS"' of he^--dise0ttTStf*'^^ she 

^axMressed 1a variety of questicTHs to Maria and Elizabeth, 
but especially to the latter, of whose connections she knew 
the least, and who she observed to Mrs. Collins, was a very 
genteel, pretty kind of girl. She asked her at different 

M 2 times, 

( 161 ) 

times, how many sisters she had, whether they were older 
or younger than herself, whether any of them were likely 
to be married, whether they were handsome, where they 
had been educated, what carriage her father kept, and what 
had been her mother's maiden name ? — Elizabeth felt all 
the impertinence of her questions, but answered them very 
composedly. — Lady Catherine then observed, 

" Your father's estate is entailed on Mr. Collins, I think. 
For your sake," turning to Charlotte, " I am glad of it ; 
but otherwise I see no occasion for entailing estates from 
the female line. — It was not thought necessary in Sir 
Lewis de Bourgh's family. — Do you play and sing, Miss 
Bennet ? " 

" A httle." 

" Oh ! then — some time or other we shall be happy to 
hear you. Our instrument is a capital one, probably 

superior to You shall try it some day. — Do your sisters 

play and sing ? " 

" One of them does." 

" Why did not you all learn ? — You ought all to have 
learned. The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has 
not so good an income as your's. — Do you draw ? " 

" No, not at all." 

" What, none of you ? " 

" Not one." 

" That is very strange. But I suppose you had no 
opportunity. Your mother should have taken you to 
town every spring for the benefit of masters." 

" My mother would have had no objection, but my 
father hates London." 

" Has your governess left you ? " 

" We never had any governess." 

" No governess ! How was that possible ? Five 
daughters brought up at home without a governess ! — 
I never heard of such a thing. Your mother must have 
been quite a slave to your education." 

Elizabeth could hardly help smiling, as she assured her 
that had not been the case. 


( 165 ) 

" Then, who taught you ? who attended to you ? 
Without a governess you must have been neglected." 

" Compared with some famihes, I beheve we were ; 
but such of us as wished to learn, never wanted the 
means. We were always encouraged to read, and had 
all the masters that were necessary. Those who chose 
to be idle, certainly might. '" 

" Aye, no doubt ; but that is what a governess will 
prevent, and if I had known your mother, I should have 
advised her most strenuously to engage one. I always 
say that nothing is to be done in education without steady 
and regular instruction, and nobody but a governess can 
give it. It is wonderful how many families I have been 
the means of supplying in that way. I am always glad 
to get a young person well placed out. Four nieces of 
Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully situated through my 
means ; and it was but the other day, that I recommended 
another young person, who was merely accidentally men- 
tioned to me, and the family are quite delighted with her. 
Mrs. Collins, did I tell you of Lady Metcalfe's calhng 
yesterday to thank me ? She finds Miss Pope a treasure. 
' Lady Catherine,' said she, ' you have given me a treasure.' 
Are. any of your younger sisters out, Miss Bennet ? " 

" Yes, Ma'am, all." 

" All !— What, all five out at once ? Very odd !— And 
you only the second. — The younger ones out before the 
elder are married ! — Your younger sisters must be very 
young ? " 

" Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full 
young to be much in company. But really, Ma'am, 
I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that 
they should not have their share of society and amusement 
because the elder may not have the means or inclination . 

to marry early.— The last born has as good a right to the (UACfft^ 
pleasures of youth, as the first. And to be kept back on I 

such a motive ! — ^I think it would not be very likely to 
promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind." 

" Upon my word," said her Ladyship, " you give your 


( 166 ) 

opinion very decidedly for so young a person. — Pray, what 
is your age ? " 

" With three younger sisters grown up," repHed Elizabeth 
smiling, " your Ladyship can hardly expect me to own 

Lady Catherine seemed qui t^ astonished at not receiving 
a direct answer ; and Elizabeth suspected herself to be 
the first creature who had ever dared to trifle with so 
much dignified impertinence. 

" You cannot be more than twenty, I am sure, — there- 
fore you need not conceal your age." 

" I am not one and twenty." 

When the gentlemen had joined them, and tea was over, 
the card tables were placed. Lady Catherine, Sir William, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Collins sat down to quadrille ; and as 
Miss De Bourgh chose to play at cassino, the two girls 
had the honour of assisting Mrs. Jenkinson to make up 
her party. Their table was superlatively stupid. Scarcely 
a syllable was uttered that did not relate to the game, 
except when Mrs. Jenkinson expressed her fears of Miss 
De Bourgh's being too hot or too cold, or having too much 
or too little light. A great deal more passed at the other 
table. Lady Catherine was generally speaking — stating 
the mistakes of the three others, or relating some anecdote 
of herself. Mr. Collins was employed in agreeing to 
every thing her Ladyship said, thanking her for every 
fish he won, and apologising if he thought he won too 
many. Sir William did not say much. He was storing 
his memory with anecdotes and noble names. 

When Lady Catherine and her daughter had played as 
long as they chose, the tables were broke up, the carriage 
was offered to Mrs. Collins, gratefully accepted, and 
immediately ordered. The party then gathered round the 
fire to hear Lady Catherine determine what weather they 
were to have on the morrow. From these instructions 
they were summoned by the arrival of the coach, and 
with many speeches of thankfulness on Mr. CoUins's side, 
and as many bows on Sir William's, they departed. As 



( 167 ) 

soon as they had driven from the door, Elizabeth was 
called on by her cousin, to give her opinion of all that she 
had seen at Rosings, which, for Charlotte's sake, she made 
more favourable than it really was. But her commenda- 
tion, though costing her some trouble, could by no means 
satisfy Mr. Collins, and he was very soon obliged to take 
her Ladyship's praise into his own hands. 



( 1^ ) 


Sir William staid only a week at Hunsford ; but his 
visit was long enough to convince him of his daughter's 
being most comfortablj'^ settled, and of her possessing such 
^^J a husband and such a neighbour as were not often met 
with. While Sir William was with them, Mr. Collins 
devoted his mornings to driving him out in his gig, and 
shewing him the country ; but when he went away, the 
whole family returned to their usual employments, and 
Elizabeth was thankful to find that they did not see more 
of her cousin by the alteration, for the chief of the time 
between breakfast and dinner was now passed by him 
either at work in the garden, or in reading and writing, and 
looking out of window in his own book room, which fronted 
the road. The room in which the ladies sat was backwards. 
Elizabeth at first had rather wondered that Charlotte should 
not prefer the dining parlour for common use ; it was 
a better sized room, and had a pleasanter aspect ; but 
she soon saw that her friend had an excellent reason for 
what she did, for Mr. Collins would undoubtedly have been 
much less in his own apartment, had they sat in one 
equally lively ; and she gave Charlotte credit for the 

From the drawing room they could distinguish nothing 
in the lane, and were indebted to Mr. Collins for the 
knowledge of what carriages went along, and how often 
especially Miss De Bourgh drove by in her phaeton, which 
he never failed coming to inform them of, though it hap- 
pened almost every day. She not unfrequently stopped 
at the Parsonage, and had a few minutes' conversation 
with Charlotte, but was scarcely ever prevailed on to 
get out. 

Very few days passed in which Mr. Collins did not walk 
to Rosings, and not many in which his wife did not think 


( 169 ) 

it necessary to go likewise ; and till Elizabeth recollected 
that there might be other family livings to be disposed of, 
she could not understand the sacrifice of so many hours. 
Now and then, they were honoured with a call from her 
Ladyship, and nothing escaped her observation that was 
passing in the room during these visits. She examined 
into their employments, looked at their work, and advised 
them to do it differently ; found fault with the arrange- 
ment of the furniture, or detected the housemaid in 
negligence ; and if she accepted any refreshment, seemed 
to do it only for the sake of finding out that Mrs. Collins's 
joints of meat were too large for her family. 

Elizabeth soon perceived that though this great lady 
was not in the commission of the peace for the county, 
she was a most active magistrate in her own parish, the 
minutest concerns of which were carried to her by Mr. 
Collins ; and whenever any of the cottagers were disposed 
to be quarrelsome, discontented or too poor, she sallied 
forth into the village to settle their differences, silence 
their complaints, and scold them into hamiony and plenty. 

The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated 
about twice a week ; and, allowing for the loss of Sir 
William, and there being only one card table in the 
evening, every such entertainment was the counterpart 
of the first. Their other engagements were few ; as the 
style of living of the neighbourhood in general, was 
beyond the Collinses' reach. This however was no evil 
to Elizabeth, and upon the whole she spent her time 
comfortably enough ; there were half hours of pleasant 
conversation with Charlotte, and the weather was so fine 
for the time of year, that she had often great enjoyment 
out of doors. Her favourite walk, and where she fre- 
quently went while the others were calling on Lady 
Catherine, was along the open grove which edged that 
side of the park, where there was a nice sheltered path, 
which no one seemed to value but herself, and where she 
felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine's curiosity. 

In this quiet way, the first fortnight of her visit soon 

( no ) 

passed away. Easter was approaching, and the week 
preceding it, was to bring an addition to the family at 
Rosings, which in so small a circle must be important. 
Elizabeth had heard soon after her arrival, that Mr. D arey 
^vas _5Xp£fite.d Jtliexe in^the^-^souxse xjf a ieM^^wEsSSIIM^ 
though there were not many of her acquaintan^^jy}iQm 
she did not prefer, his coming would furnish one com- 
paiiatively new to look at in their Rosings parties, and she 
might be amused in seeing how hopeless Miss Ringley's 
designs on him were, by his behaviour to his cousin, for 
whom he was evidently destined by Lady Catherine ; 
who talked of his coming with the greatest satisfaction, 
spoke of him in terms of the highest admiration, and 
seemed almost angry to find that he had already been 
frequently seen by Miss Lucas and herself. 

His arrival was soon known at the Parsonage, for 
Mr. Collins was walking the whole morning within view 
of the lodges opening into Hunsford Lane, in order to 
have the earliest assurance of it ; and after making his 
bow as the carriage turned into the Park, hurried home 
with the great intelligence. On the following morning 
he hastened to Rosings to pay his respects. There were 
two nephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for 
Mr. Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitzwilliam, 

the younger son of his uncle, Lord a nd to the gr eat 

surprise of all the par^y, whpn lyTr. rnllin^; r eturned t he 
gggSemen.aucQlxipankdLJ^^ had liioon tht^gi 

from her husband's room, crossing the road, and im- 
mediately running into the other, told the girls what an 
honour they might expect, adding, 

" Lmay than k yon, Eliya,, fo r this piecp nf f^jvility. 
^MrJD^icj:, .mould ney^cJiaK g^come so soon to wait upon 


Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to 
the compliment, before their approach was announced by 
the door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen 
entered the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, 
was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address 


( 171 ) 

most truly the gentleman. Mr. Darcy looked just as he 
had been used to look in Hertfordshire, paid his com- 
pliments, with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins ; and 
whatever might be his feelings towards her friend, met 
her with every appearance of composure. Ehzabeth 
merely curtseyed to him, without saying a word. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly 
with the readiness and ease of a well-bred man, and talked 
very pleasantly ; but his cousin, after having addressed 
a slight observation on the house and garden to Mrs. 
Collins, sat for some time without speaking to any body. 
At length, however, his civility was so far awakened as 
to enquire of Elizabeth after the health of her family. 
She answered him in the usual way, and after a moment's 
pause, added, 

" My eldest sister has been in town these three months. 
Have you never happened to see her there ? " 

She was perfectly sensible that he never had ; but she 
wished to see whether he would betray any consciousness 
of what had passed between the Bingleys and Jane ; and 
she thought he looked a little confused as he answered 
that he had never been so fortunate as to meet Miss 
Bennet. The subject was pursued no farther, and the 
gentlemen soon afterwards went away. 




( ™,) 


Colonel Fitzwilliam's manners were very much ad- 
mired at the parsonage, and the ladies all felt that he 
must add considerably to the pleasure of their engage- 
ments at Rosings. It was some days, however, before 
they received any invitation thither, for while there were 
visitors in the house, they could not be necessary ; and 
it was not till Easter-day, almost a week after the gentle- 
men's arrival, that they were honoured by such an atten- 
tion, and then they were merely asked on leaving church 
to come there in the evening. For the last week they had 
seen very little of either Lady Catherine or her daughter. 
Colonel Fitzwilliam had called at the parsonage more than 
once during the time, but Mr. Darcy they had only seen 
at church. 

The invitation was accepted of course, and at a proper 
hour they joined the party in Lady Catherine's drawing 
room. Her ladyship received them civilly, but it was 
plain that their company was by no means so acceptable 
as when she could get nobody else ; and she was, in fact, 
almost engrossed by her nephews, speaking to them, 
especially to Darcy, much more than to any other person 
in the room. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam seemed really glad to sec them ; 
any thing was a welcome relief to him at Rosings ; and 
Mrs. Collins's pretty friend had moreover caught his fancy 
very much. He now seated himself by her, and talked 
so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of travelling and 
staying at home, of new books and music, that Elizabeth 
had never been half so well entertained in that room before ; 
and they conversed with so much spirit and flow, as to 
draw the attention of Lady Catherine herself, as well as 
of Mr. Darcy. Kis eyes had been soon and repeatedly 
turned towards them with a look of curiosity ; and that 


( 173 ) . 

her ladyship after a while shared the feeling, was more 
openly acknowledged, for she did not scruple to call out, 

" What is that Vou are saying, Fitzwilliam ? What is 
it you are talkingjftf ? What are you teUing Miss Bennet ? 
Let me hear what it is." 

" We are speaking of music, Madam," said he, when 
no longer able to avoid a reply. 

" Of music ! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all 
subjects my delight. I must have my share in the con- 
versation, if you are speaking of music. There are few 
^^ JbpcpjakLialEadaQd, I suppos e, who have more true enjoy- ^H^^ 

y (Spent of nm§kJtoi..^yselfr^F^^ ^^^Zc^A^ 

' If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient. ^''^'^-'^^'-*''^^ 
And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her to apply. 
I am confident that she would have performed delight- 
fully. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy ? " 

Mr. Darcy spoke with affectionate praise of his sister's 
proficiency. - 

" I am very glad to hear such a good account of her," i ' J Tj 
said Lady Catherine ; " and pray tell her from me, that (^Jw-^^'^y^ 
she cannot expect to excel, if she does not practise a great ^AAfyi^i 
deal." "^ 

" I assure you. Madam," he replied, " that she does 
not need such advice. She practises very constantly." 

" So much the better. It cannot be done too much ; 
and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to 
neglect it on any account. I often tell young ladies, 
that no excellence in music is to be acquired, without 
constant practice. I have told Miss Bennet several times, 
that she will never play really well, unless she practises 
more ; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she 
is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to 
Rosings every day, and play on the piano forte in Mrs. 
Jenkinson's room. She would be in nobody's way, you 
know, in that parfe of the house." 

Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt's ill 
breeding, and made no answer. 

When coffee was over. Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded 


( n4 ) 

Elizabeth of having promised to play to him ; and she 
sat down directly to the instrument. He drew a chair 
near her. Lady Catherine listened to half a song, and 
then talked, as before, to her other nephew ; till the 
latter walked away from her, and moving with his usual 
deliberation towards the piano forte, stationed himself so 
as to command a full view of the fair performer's coun- 
tenance. Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at the 
first convenient pause, turned to him with an arch smile, 
and said, 

" You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in 
all this state to hear me ? But I will not be alarmed 
though your sister does play so well. There is a stubborn- 
ness about me that never can bear to be frightened at 
the will of others. Jly courage always rises with every 
attempt to intimidate me." ^**-- 

"^I~"shall *noFsay^that you are mistaken," he replied, 
" because you could not really believe me to entertain 
any design of alarming you ; and I have had the pleasure 
of your acquaintance long enough to know, that you find 
great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which 
in fact are not your own." 

Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, 
and said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, " Your cousin will give 
you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to 
believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting 
with a person so well able to expose my real character, 
in a part of the world, where I had hoped to pass myself 
off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is 
very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to 
my disadvantage in Hertfordshire — and, give me leave 
to say, very impolitic too — for it is provoking me to 
retaliate, and such things may come out, as will shock 
your relations to hear." 

" I am not afraid of you," said he, smilingly. 

" Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of," 
cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. '' I should like to know how 
he behaves among strangers." 


( ns ) 

" You shall hear then — but prepare yourself for some- i 

thing very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing I /j . _J( 
him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball — ^^{VX>^ 
and at this ball, what do you think he did ? He danced 
only four dances ! I am sorry to pain you — but so it was. 
He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were 
scarce ; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one 
young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Mr. 
Darcy, you cannot deny the fact." 

" I had not at that time the honour of knowing any 
lady in the assembly beyond my own party." 

" True ; andjiobody can eve r b^ . introduced in a bal l 
room^ Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next ? 
^^^ngers wait your orders." 

" Perhaps," said Darcy, " I should have judged better, 
had I sought an introduction, but I am ill qualified to 
recommend myself to strangers." 

*' Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this ? " said 
Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. " Shall 
we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who 
has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend him- 
self to strangers ? " 

" I can answer your question," said Fitzwilliam, " with- 
out applying to him. It is because he will not give himself 
the trouble." 
r^ " I certainly have not the talent which some people 
J^ possess," said Darcy, " of conversing easily with those 
I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of 
conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as 
I often see done." 

" My fingers," said Elizabeth, " do not move over this 
instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many 
women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, 
and do not produce the same expression. But then I have 
always supposed it to be my own fault — because I would 
not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not 
believe my fingers ^ caj)able as any other woman's of 
superior execution." ] 

J Darcy 


( ne ) 

Darcy smiled and said, " You are perfectly right. You 
^^ave employed your time much better. No one admitted 
to the privilege of hearing you, can think any thing wanting. 
We neither of us p erJbxmJLavStrangers." 

here they were interrupted by Lady Catherine, who 
called out to know what they were talking of. Elizabeth 
immediately began playing again. Lady Catherine 
approached, and, after listening for a few minutes, said 
to Darcy, 

" Miss Bennet would not play at all amiss, if she prac- 
tised more, and could have the advantage of a London 
master. She has a very good notion of fingering, though 
her taste is not equal to Anne's. Anne would have been 
a delightful performer, had her health allowed her to 

Elizabeth looked at Darcy to see how cordially he 
assented to his cousin's praise ; but neither at that 
moment nor at any other cbuldjhe discern any symptom 
of love ; and from the whole oT his behaviour to jSITss 
De Bburgh she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, 
that he might have been just as likely to marry her, had 
she been his relation. 

Lady Catherine continued her remarks on Elizabeth's 
performance, mixing with them many instructions on 
execution and taste. Elizabeth received them with all 
the forbearance of civility ; and at the request of the 
gentlemen remained at the instrument till her Ladyship's 
carriage was ready to take them all home. 




( n? ) 


Elizabeth was sitting by herself the next morning, and 
writing to Jane, while Mrs, Collins and Maria were gone 
on business into the village, when she was startled by a ring 
at the door, the certain signal of a visitor. As she had 
heard no carriage, she thought it not unlikely to be 
Lady Catherine, and under that apprehension was putting 
away her half-finished letter that she might escape all 
impertinent questions, when the door opened, and to her 
very great surprise, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, 
entered the room. 

He seemed astonished too on finding her alone, and 
apologised for his intrusion, by letting her know that he 
had understood all the ladies to be within. 

They then sat down, and when her enquiries after 
Rosings were made, seemed in danger of sinking into 
total silence. It was absolutely necessary, therefore, to 
think of something, and in this emergence recollecting 
when she had seen him last in Hertfordshire, and feeling 
curious to know what he would say on the subject of their 
hasty departure, she observed, 

" How very suddenly you all quitted Netherfield last 
November, Mr. Darcy ! It must have been a most agree- 
able surprise to Mr. Bingley to see you all after him so 
soon ; for, if I recollect right, he went but the day 
before. He and his sisters were well, I hope, when you 
left London." 

" Perfectly so — I thank you." 

She found that she was to receive no other answer — 
and, after a short pause, added, 

" I think I have understood that Mr. Bingley has not 
much idea of ever returning to Netherfield again ? " 

" I have never heard him say so ; but it is probable 
that he may spend very little of his time there in future. 

p. p. N He 

( 178 ) 

He has many friends, and he is at a time of life when 
friends and engagements are continually increasing." 

"If he means to be but little at Netherfield, it would 
be better for the neighbourhood that he should give up 
the place entirely, for then we might possibly get a 
settled family there. But perhaps Mr. Bingley did not 
take the house so much for the convenience of the neigh- 
bourhood as for his own, and we must expect him to keep 
or quit it on the same principle." 

" I should not be surprised," said Darcy, " if he were 
to give it up, as soon as any eligible purchase offers." 

Elizabeth made no answer. She was afraid of talking 
longer of his friend ; and, having nothing else to say, 
was now determined to leave the trouble of finding a 
subject to him. 

He took the hint, and soon began with, " This seems 
a very comfortable house. Lady Catherine, I believe, 
did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to 

" I believe she did — and I am sure she could not have 
bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object." 

" Mr. Collins appears very fortunate in his choice of 
a wife." 

" Yes, indeed ; his friends may well rejoice in his 
having met with one of the very few sensible women 
who would have accepted him, or have made him happy 
if they had. My friend has an excellent understanding — 
though I am not certain that I consider her marrying 
Mr. Collins as the wisest thing she ever did. She seems 
perfectly happy, however, and in a prudential light, it is 
certainly a very good match for her." 

" It must be very agreeable to her to be settled within 
so easy a distance of her own family and friends." 

" An easy distance do you call it ? It is nearly fifty 

" And what is fifty miles of good road ? Little more 
than half a day's journey. Yes, I call it a very easy 

( 179 ) 

" I should never have considered the distance as one 
)f the advantages of the match," cried Elizabeth. "I 
should never have said Mrs. Collins was settled near her 

"It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertford- 
shire. Any thing beyond the very neighbourhood of 
Longbourn, I suppose, would appear far." 

As he spoke there was a sort of smile, which Elizabeth 
fancied she understood ; he must be supposing her to be 
thinking of Jane and Netherfield, and she blushed as she 

" I do not mean to say that a woman may not be 
settled too near her family. The far and the near must 
be relative, and depend on many varying circumstances. 
Where there is fortune to make the expence of travelling 
unimportant, distance becomes no evil. But that is not 
the case here. Mr. and Mrs. Collins have a comfortable 
income, but not such a one as will allow of frequent 
journeys — and I am persuaded my friend would not call 
herself near her family under less than half the present 

Mr. Darcy drew his chair a little towards her, and 
said, " You cannot have a right to such very strong 
local attachment. You cannot have been always at 

Elizabeth looked surprised. The gentleman experienced 
some change of feeling ; he drew back his chair, took 
a newspaper from the table, and, glancing over it, said, 
in a colder voice, 

" Are you pleased with Kent ? " 

A short dialogue on the subject of the country ensued, 
on either side calm and concise — and soon put an end to 
by the entrance of Charlotte and her sister, just returned 
from their walk. The tete a tete surprised them. Mr. 
Darcy related the mistake which had occasioned his in- 
truding on Miss Bennet, and after sitting a few minutes 
longer without saying much to any body, went away. 

" What can be the meaning of this ! " said Charlotte, 

N 2 as 



( 180 ) 

as scMDn as he was gone. " My^.d£aii. JEUaft'- l *f ' i H i i st" ' te "' 
in love with you, or he wpuJiCili^^^er have'«ali^^fm'*fr!HH»«>« 
this familiar way. '^ 

But when Ehzabeth told of his silence, it did not seem 
very likely, even to Charlotte's wishes, to be the case ; 
and after various conjectures, they could at last only 
suppose his visit to proceed from the difficulty of finding 
any thing to do, which was the more probable from the 
time of year. All field sports were over. Within doors 
there was Lady Catherine, books, and a billiard table, 
but gentlemen cannot be always within doors ; and in 
the nearness of the Parsonage, or the pleasantness of the 
walk to it, or of the people who lived in it, the two cousins 
found a temptation from this period of walking thither 
almost every day. They called at various times of the 
morning, sometimes separately, sometimes together, and 
now and then accompanied by their aunt. It was plain 
to them all that Colonel Fitzwilliam came because he had 
pleasure in their society, a persuasion which of course 
recommended him still more ; and Elizabeth was reminded 
by her own satisfaction in being with him, as well as by 
his evident admiration of her, of her former favourite 
George Wickham ; and though, in comparing them, she 
saw there was less captivating softness in Colonel Fitz- 
william's manners, she believed he might have the best 
informed mind. 

But why Mr. Darcy came so often^tP the Paxsonage, 
it was*mOTe 3TfficuTf*fo"unB€^^^ It could not be for 

soSTely, as he frequently sat there ten minutes together 
without opening his lips ; arid when he did speak, it 
seemed the effect of necessity rather than of choice — a 
sacrifice to propriety, not a pleasure to himself. He 
seldom appeared really animated. Mrs. Collins knew not 
what to make of him. Colonel Fitzwilliam's occasionally 
laughing at his stupidity, proved that he was generally 
different, which her own knowledge of him could not 
have told her ; and as she would have liked to believe 
this change the effect of love, and the object of that love, 


( 181 ) 

iter friend Eliza, she sat herself seriously to work to find 
out. — She watched him whenever they were at Rosings, 
and whenever he came to Hunsford ; but without much 
success. He certainly looked at her friend a great deal, 
but the expression of that look was disputable. It was 
an earnest, steadfast gaze, but she often doubted whether 
there were much admiration in it, and sometimes it seemed 
nothing but absence of mind. 

She had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth the 
possibility of his being partial to her, but Elizabeth 
always laughed at the idea ; and Mrs. Collins did not 
think it right to press the subject, from the danger of 
raising expectations which might only end in disappoint- 
ment ; for in her opinion it admitted not of a doubt, 
that all her friend's dislike would vanish, if she could 
suppose him to be in her power. 

In her kind schemes for Elizabeth, she sometimes 
planned her marrying Colonel Fitzwilliam. He was beyond 
comparison the pleasantest man ; he certainly admired 
her, and his situation in life was most eligible ; but, to 
counterbalance these advantages, Mr. Darcy had con- 
siderable patronage in the church, and his cousin could 
have none at all. 


( 182 ) 


Mo^jbfei^l^^jj^Sg wdjd Jtiya beth^^^^^^^^ w i t hin 

the T ^^ilm rTB^ntn felt all the 

perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where 
no one else was brought ; and to prevent its ever happening 
again, took care to inform him at first, that it was a 
favourite haunt of hers. — How it could occur a second 
time therefore was very odd ! — Yet it did, and even a third. 
It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, 
for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal 
enquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he 
actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with 
her. He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself 
the trouble of talking or of listening much ; but it struck 
her in the course of their third rencontre that he was 
asking some odd unconnected questions — about her 
pleasure in being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, 
and her opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Collins's happiness ; 
and that in speaking of Rosings and her not perfectly 
understanding the house, he seemed to expect that when- 
ever she came into Kent again she would be staying there 
too. His words seemed to imply it. Could he have 
Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts ? She supposed, if he 
meant any thing, he must mean an allusion to what might 
arise in that quarter. It distressed her a little, and she 
was quite glad to find herself at the gate in the pales 
opposite the Parsonage. 

She was engaged one day as she walked, in re-perusing 
Jane's last letter, and dwelling on some passages which 
proved that Jane had not written in spirits, when, instead 
of being again surprised by Mr. Darcy, she saw on looking 
up that Colonel Fitzwilliam was meeting her. Putting 
away the letter immediately and forcing a smile, she said, 

*' I did not know before that you ever walked this way.'" 


( 183 ) 

" I have been making the tour of the Park," he replied, 
" as I generally do every year, and intend to close it mth 

call at the Parsonage. Are you going much farther ? " 

" No, I should have turned in a moment." 

And accordingly she did turn, and they walked towards 
the Parsonage together. 

"Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday ? " said she. 

" Yes — if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am 
at his disposal. He arranges the business just as he 

" And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, 
he has at least great pleasure in the power of choice. I do 
not know any body who seems more to enjoy the power 
of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy." 

" He likes to have his own way very well," replied 
Colonel Fitz William. " But so we all do. It is only that 
he has better means of having it than many others, 
because he is rich, and many others are poor. I speak 
feelingly. A younger son, you know, must be inured to 
self-denial and dependence." 

" In my opinion, the younger son of an Earl can know 
very little of either. No3,.,§mQW%,.jdl^Jj§^^ 

kno wn of ,^<^M.m4^^1MLi3Jj^<^' d '"P*"" ^ ^^^^ • When have you 

prevented by want of money from going wherever 
you chose, or procuring any thing you had a fancy for ? " 

" These are home questions — and perhaps I cannot say 
that I have experienced many hardships of that nature. 
But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer from the 
want of money. Younger sons cannot marry where they 

" Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think 
they very often do." 

" Our habits of expencc make us too dependant, and 
there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to 
marry without some attention to money." 

" Is this," thought EHzabeth, " meant for me ? " and 
she coloured at the idea ; but, recovering herself, said 
in a lively tone, " And ptay, what is the usual price of an 


( 184 ) 

Earl's younger son ? Unless the elder brother is very 
sickly, I suppose you would not ask above fifty thousand 

He answered her in the same style, and the subjeet 
dropped. To interrupt a silence which might make him 
fancy her affected with what had passed, she soon after- 
wards said, 

*' I imagine your cousin brought you down with him 
chiefly for the sake of having somebody at his disposal. 
I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting con- 
venience of that kind. But, perhaps his sister does as 
well for the present, and, as she is under his sole care, 
he may do what he likes with her." 

*' No," said Colonel Fitzwilliam, " that is an advantage 
which he must divide with me. I am joined with him in 
the guardianship of Miss Darcy." 

" Are you, indeed ? And pray what sort of guardians 
do you make ? Does your charge give you much trouble ? 
Young ladies of her age, are sometimes a little difficult 
to manage, and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may 
like to have her own way." 

As she spoke, she observed him looking at her earnestly, 
and the manner in which he immediately asked her why 
she supposed Miss Darcy likely to give them any un- 
easiness, convinced her that she had somehow or other got 
pretty near the truth. She directly replied, 

" You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm 
of her ; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable 
creatures in the world. She is a very great favourite with 
some ladies of my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss 
Bingley. I think I have heard you say that you know 

" I know them a little. Their brother is a pleasant 
gentleman-like man — he is a great friend of Darcy 's." 

"Oh! yes," said Elizabeth drily— " Mr. Darcy is 
uncommonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious 
deal of care of him." 

" Care of him ! — Yes, I really believe Darcy does take 


( 185 ) 

care of him in those points where he most wants care. 
From something that he told me in our journey hither, 
I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to 
him. But I ought to beg his pardon, for I have no right 
to suppose that Bingley was the person meant. It was 
all conjecture. '^' 

" What is it you mean ? " 

" It is a circumstance which Darcy of course would 
not wish to be generally known, because if it were to 
get round to the lady's familv, it would be an unpleasant 

" You may depend upon my not mentioning it." 

" And remember that I have not much reason for 
supposing it to be Bingley. What he told me was merely ^ "f^AAJ 

this * thf^ ^'^ r»/-\Tim«afnlQ4-ia/1 Viimcolf f\r\ IrtaiTinrr lat*>l\r ca\7^rl ' " / .m 

a ^ frieSr 


paHiciilars, and I only suspected it to be Bingley from 
believing him the kind of young man to get into a scrape J^J jj^^w^ 
of that sort, and from knowing them to have been together f 
the whole of last summer." 

" Did Mr. Darcy give you his reasons for this inter- 
ference ? " 

" I understood that there were some very strong objec- 
tions against the lady." 

" And what arts did he use to separate them ? " 

" He did not talk to me of his own arts," said Fitz- 
^vilham smiling. " He only told me, what I have now 
told you." 

Elizabeth made no answer, and walked on, her heart 
swelling with indignation. After watching her a little, 
Fitzwilliam asked her why she was so thoughtful. 

" I am thinking of what you have been telling me," 
said she. " Your cousin's conduct does not suit my 
feelings. Why was he to be the judge ? " 

" You are rather disposed to call his interference 
officious ? " 

" I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on 


( 186 ) 

the propriety of his friend's inchnation, or why, upon his 
own judgment alone, he was to determine and direct in 
what manner that friend was to be happy." " But," she 
continued, recollecting herself, " as we know none of the 
particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. It is not to 
be supposed that there was much affection in the case." 

" That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitzwilliam, 
" but it is lessening the honour of my cousin's triumph 
very sadly." 

This was spoken jestingly, but it appeared to her so 
just a picture of Mr. Darcy, that she would not trust 
herself with an answer ; and, therefore, abruptly changing 
the conversation, talked on indifferent matters till they 
reached the parsonage. There, shut into her own room, 
as soon as their visitor left them, she could think without 
interruption of all that she had heard. It was not to be 
supposed that any other people could be meant than those 
with whom she was connected. There could not exist in 
the world two men, over whom Mr. Darcy could have such 
boundless influence. That he had been concerned in the 
measures taken to separate Mr. Bingley and Jane, she had 
never doubted ; but she had always attributed to Miss 
Bingley the principal design and arrangement of them. 
If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him, he was^ 
the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause of 

haclruined for a while every liop^ of happiness for thg,,XQOst 
affectionate, generous .iiej^rt in the world ; and no one 
could say how lasting an evil he might have inflicted. 

" There were some vmy strong objections against tKe 
lady," were Colonel Fitzwilliam's words, and these strong 
objections probably were, her having one uncle who was 
a country attorney, and another who was in business in 

" To Jane herself," she exclaimed, " there could be no 
possibility of objection. All loveliness and goodness as 
she is ! Her understanding excellent, her mind improved, 
and her manners captivating. Neither could any thing 



( 187 ) 

)c urged against my father, who, though with some 
fpeculiarities, has abihties which Mr. Darcy himself need 
'not disdain, and respectabihty which he will probably 
never reach.'' When she thought of her mother indeed, 
her confidence gave way a little, but she would not allow 
that any objections titer e had material weight with 
Mr. Darcy, whose pride, she was convinced, would receive 
a deeper wound from the want of importance in his friend's 
connections, than from their want of sense ; and she was 
quite decided at last, that he had been partly governed 
by this worst kind of pride, and partly by the wish of 
retaining Mr. Bingley for his sister. 

The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned, 
brought on a headach ; and it grew so much worse 
towards the evening bhat, added to her unwillingness to 
see Mr. Darcy, it determined her not to attend her cousins 
to Rosings, where they were engaged to drink tea. Mrs. 
Collins, seeing that she was really unwell, did not press 
her to go, and as much as possible prevented her husband 
from pressing her, but Mr. Collins could not conceal his 
apprehension of Lady Catherine's being rather displeased 
by her staying at home. 



( 188 ) 


When they were gone, Elizabeth, as it intending to 
exasperate herself as much as possible against Mr. Darcy, 
chose for her employment the examination of all the letters 
which Jane had written to her since her being in Kent. 
They contained no actual complaint, nor was there any 
revival of past occurrences, or any communication of 
present suffering. But in all, and in almost every line of 
each, there was a want of that cheerfulness which had 
been used to characterize her style, and which, proceeding 
from the serenity of a mind at ease with itself, and kindly 
disposed towards every one, had been scarcely ever clouded. 
Elizabeth noticed every sentence conveying the idea of 
uneasiness, with an attention which it had hardly received 
on the first perusal. Mr. Darcy 's shameful boast of what 
misery he had been able to inflict, gave her a keener sense 
of her sister's sufferings. It was some consolation to 
think that his visit to Rosings was to end on the day after 
the next, and a still greater, that in less than a fortnight 
she should herself be with Jane again, and enabled to 
contribute to the recovery of her spirits, by all that 
affection could do. 

She could not think of Darcy's leaving Kent, without 
remembering that his cousin was to go with him ; but 
Colonel Fitzwilliam had made it clear that he had no 
intentions at all, and agreeable as he was, she did not 
mean to be unhappy about him. 

While settling this point, she was suddenly roused by 
the sound of the door bell, and her spirits were a little 
fluttered by the idea of its being Colonel Fitzwilliam 
himself, who had once before called late in the evening, 
and might now come to enquire particularly after her. 
But this idea was soon banished, and her spirits were 
very differently affected, when, to her utter amazement, 


( 189 ) 

she saw Mr. Darcy walk into the room. In an hurried 
manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, 
imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were 
better. She answered him with cold civility. He sat 
down for a few moments, and then getting up walked 
about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not 
a word. After a silence of several minutes he came 
towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began, 

" In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings 

will not be repressed. Youinust allow me to tell., you 

h^w^rdently „I ^dmka*aj^ ' ' 

ElizaBeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She 
stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he con- 
sidered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all 
that he felt and had long felt for her, immediately followed. 
He spoke well, but tj i^r^ wfTf ^^"^^"^g*' hpgjrif^g fhn^f^ of the 
heart to be detailed, and he was not more elpqueiit oil the 
sirtrft^Ctr 5f" tenderness than of prider" His sense of h er 
inferiority — of its being a degradation— of the family 
obstacles whieh judgment had always opposed to inclina- 
tibn, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due 
to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely 
to recommend his suit. 

In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be 
insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, 
and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, 
she was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive ; till, 
roused to resentment by his^ubseque^ntjanguage, she lost 
all compassion in anger. She^trieaThowever, to compose 
"n^erseif to answer him with patience, when he should have 
done. He concluded with representing to her the strength 
of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, 
he had found impossible to conquer ; and with expressing 
his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance 
of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he 
had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of appre- 
hension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real 
security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate 


( 190 ) 

farther, and when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, 
and she said, 

" In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the estabUshed 
mode to express a sense of obHgation for the sentiments 
avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is 
natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel 
gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot — I have 
never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly 
bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occa- 
sioned pain to any one. It has been most unconsciously 
done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. 
The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the 
acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty 
in overcoming it after this explanation." 

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantle-piece 
with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words 
with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion 
became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind 
was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the 
appearance of composure, and would not open his lips, 
till he believed himself to have attained it. The pause 
was to Elizabeth's feelings dreadful. At length, in a voice 
of forced calmness, he said, 

" And this is all the reply which I am to have the 
honour of expecting ! I might, perhaps, wish to be in- 
formed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus 
rejected. But it is of small importance." 

" I might as well enquire," replied she, " \^x wi^^ ^^ 
evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose" 
to tell me that you liked me against your will, agamst 
your reason, and even against your character ? Was hot 
this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil ? But I have 
other provocations. You know I have. Had not my own 
feelings decided against you, had they been indifferent, 
or had they even been favourable, do you think that any 
consideration would tempt me to accept the man, who has 
been the means'©! ruining, perhaps ioi e¥«j:, ihe happiness 
of a most beloved sister ? " 



( 191 ) 

As she pronounced these words, Mr. Darcy changed 
colour ; but the emotion was short, and he Hstened 
without attempting to interrupt her while she continued. 

"I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. 
No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part 
you acted there. You dare not, you cannot deny that you 
have been the principal, if not the only means of dividing 
them from each other, of exposing one to the censure of 
the world for caprice and instability, the other to its 
derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both 
in misery of the acutest kind." 

She paused, and saw with no slight indignation that 
he was listening with an air which proved him wholly 
unmoved by any feeling of remorse. He even looked at 
her with a smile of affected incredulity. 

" Can you deny that you have done it ? " she repeated. 

Withassumed tranquillity he thenreplied, "I have no wish 
of denying that I did every thing in my power to separate 
my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success. 
Towards him I have been kinder than towards myself." 

EHzabeth disdained the appearance of noticing this civil 
reflection, but its meaning did not escape, nor was it 
likely to conciliate her. 

" But it is not merely this affair," she continued, " on 
which my dislike is founded. Long before it had taken 
place, my opinion of you was decided. Your^ character 
wasjjnMded in Jhe jcecital which I receivefmariy Ihonths 
ago from Mr. Wickham. On this subject, what can you 
have to say ? In what imaginary act of friendship can you 
here defend yourself ? or under what misrepresentation, 
can you here impose upon others ? " 

" You take an eager interest in that gentleman's 
concerns," said Darcy in a less tranquil tone, and with 
a heightened colour. 

" Who that knows what his misfortunes have been, can 
help feeling an interest in him ? " 

" His misfortunes ! " repeated Darcy contemptuously ; 
" yes, his misfortunes have been great indeed." 


( 192 ) 

" And of your infliction," cried Elizabeth with energy. 
" You have reduced him to his present state of poverty, 
comparative poverty. You have withheld the advantages, 
which you must know to have been designed for him. 
You have deprived the best years of his life, of that inde- 
pendence which was no less his due than his desert. You 
have done all this ! and yet you can treat the mention 
of his misfortunes with contempt and ridicule." 

" And this," cried Darcy, as he walked with quick 
steps across the room, " is your opinion of me ! This is 
the estimation in which you hold me ! I thank you 
for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this 
calculation, are heavy indeed ! But perhaps," added he, 
stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, " these 
offences might have been overlooked, had not your pride 
been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that 
had Jong pre vented my forming any serious designr 

I with greater policy concealed my struggles, and flattered 
you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, 
Uttalloyed inelihation ; by reason, by reflection, by 
every thing. §jut disguise of every sort is my abhoir 
rence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They 
were natural and just. Could you expect me to rejoice 
in the inferiority of your connections ? To congratulate 
myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life 
is so decidedly beneath my own ? " 

Elizabeth felt herself growing more angry every moment ; 
yet she tried to the utmost to speak with composure when 
she said, 

" You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that 
the mode of your declaration affected me in any other 
way, than as it spared me the concern which I might 
have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more 
gentleman-like manner." 

She saw him start at this, but he said nothing, and she 

'' You could not have made me the offer of your hand 



( 193 ) 

^m accept it." 

^» Again his astonishment was obvious ; and he looked 
at her with an expression of mingled incredulity and 
mortification. She went on. 

" From the very beginning, from the first moment 
I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your 
manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your 
arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the 
feelings of others, were such as to form that ground-work 
of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built 
so immoveable a dislike ; and I had not known you a 
month before I felt that you were the last man in the 
world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." 

" You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly 
comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be 
ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for 
having taken up so much of your time, and accept my 
best wishes for your health and happiness." 

And with these words he hastily left the room, and 
Elizabeth heard him the next moment open the front door 
and quit the house. 

The tumult of her mind was now painfully great. She 
knew not how to support herself, and from actual weakness 
sat down and cried for half an hour. Her astonishment, 
as she reflected on what had passed, was increased by 
every review of it. That she should receive- aa-~o^p of- 
marriage from Mr. Darcy ! that he should have been in 
Jot'5"-tnth her for so many months ! so much in love 
[ as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which 
had made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and 
I which must appear at least with equal force in his own case, 
was almost incredible ! it was gratifying to have inspired 
unconsciously so strong an affection. But his pride, his 
abominable pride, his shameless avowal of what he had 
done with respect to Jane, his unpardonable assurance 
in acknowledging, though he could not justify it, and the 
uhfeehng manner in which he had mentioned Mr. Wick- 
p.p- o ham. 


( 194 ) 

ham, his cmdt J tpwards ,w not attempted to 

Heiiyrsoon overcame the pity which the coflgiderattCfTT'of 
his attachment had for a monoient excited. ' '^ -""^^-"^ 

She continued in very agitating reflections till the sound 
of Lady Catherine's carriage made her feel how unequal 
she was to encounter Charlotte's observation, and hurried 
her away to her room. 


Elizabeth awoke the next morning to the same 
thoughts and meditations which had at length closed her 
eyes. She could not yet recover from the surprise of what 
had happened ; it was impossible to think of any thing 
else, and totally indisposed for employment, she resolved 
soon after breakfast to indulge herself in air and exercise. 
She was proceeding directly to her favourite walk, when 
the recollection of Mr. Darcy's sometimes coming there 
stopped her, and instead of entering the park, she turned 
up the lane, which led her farther from the turnpike road. 
The park paling was still the boundary on one side, and 
she soon passed one of the gates into the ground. 

After walking two or three times along that part of the 
lane, she was tempted, by the pleasantness of the morning, 
to stop at the gates and look into the park. The five 
weeks which she had now passed in Kent, had made 
a great difference in the country, and every day was adding 
to the verdure of the early trees. She was on the point 
of continuing her walk, when she caught a glimpse of 
a gentleman within the sort of grove which edged the 
park ; he was moving that way ; and fearful of its being 
Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreating. But the person 
who advanced, was now near enough to see her, and 
stepping forward with eagerness, pronounced her name. 
She had turned away, but on hearing herself called, 
though in a voice which proved it to be Mr. Darcy, she 
moved again towards the gate. He had by that time 
reached it also^^nd holding out a letter, which she instinc- 
tively took. Said with a look of haughty composure, 
" I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope 
of itieeting you. Will yoti do me the honour of reading 
that letter ? " — And then, with a slight bow, turned again 
into the plantation, and was soon out of sight. 

o 2 With 

{ 196 ) 

With no expectation of pleasure, but with the strongest 
curiosity, Elizabeth opened the letter, and to her still 
increasing wonder, perceived an envelope containing tJKQ,^ 
sheets of letter paper, written quite through, in a very 
close hand. — The envelope itself was likewise full. — 
Pursuing her way along the lane, she then began it. It 
was dated from Rosings, at eight o'clock in the morning, 
and was as follows : — 

'* Be not alarmed. Madam, on receiving this letter, by 
the apprehension of its containing any repetition of those 
sentiments, or renewal of those offers, which were last 
night so disgusting to you. I write without any intention 
of paining you, or humbling myself, by dwelling on 
wishes, which, for the happiness of both, cannot be too 
soon forgotten ; and the effort which the formation, and 
the perusal of this letter must occasion, should have been 
spared, had not my character required it to be written 
and read. You must, therefore, pardon the freedom with 
which I demand your attention ; your feelings, I know, 
will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice. 

" Two offences of a very different nature, and by no 
mealis of eqiial magnitude, you last night laid to my 
charge. The first mentioned was, that, regardless of the 
sentiments of either, I had detached Mr. Bingley from 
your sister, — and the bther,""1Ehat I had, in defiance -t>l— 
various claims, in defiance of honour and humanity, ruined 
the immediate prosperity, and blasted the prospects, x^f- 
Mr. Wickham.— Wilfully and wantonly to have thrown off 
the companion of my youth, the acknowledged favourite 
of my father, a young man who had scarcely any other 
dependence than on our patronage, and who had been 
brought up to expect its exertion, would be a depravity, 
to which the separation of two young |>ersons, whose 
affection could be the growth of only a fe^ weeks, could 
bear no comparison. — But from the severitj^ of that blame 
which was last night so liberally bestowed, respecting each 
circumstance, I shall hope to be in future secured, when 
the following account of my actions and their motives 


( 197 ) - 

las been read. — If, in the explanation of them which is 
lue to myself, I am under the necessity of relating feelings 
rhich may be offensive to your's, I can only say that I am 
sorry. — The necessity must be obeyed — and farther apology 
would be absurd. — I had not been long in Hertfordshire, 
before I saw, in common with others, that Bingley pre- 
ferred your eldest sister, to any other young woman in the 
country. — But it was not till the evening of the dance at 
Netherfield that I had any apprehension of his feeling 
a serious attachment. — I had often seen him in love before. 
— At that ball, while I had the honour of dancing with 
you, I was first made acquainted, by Sir William Lucas's 
accidental information, that Bingley's attentions to your 
sister had given rise to a general expectation of their 
marriage. He spoke of it as a certain event, of which 
the time alone could be undecided. From that moment 
I observed my friend's behaviour attentively ; and I could 
then perceive that his partiality for Miss Bennet was 
beyond what I had ever witnessed in him. Your sister 
I also watched. — Her look and manners were open, 
cheerful and engaging as ever, but without any symptom 
of peculiar regard, and I remained convinced from the 
evening's scrutiny, that though she received his attentions 
with pleasure, she did not invite them by any participation 
of sentiment. — If you have not been mistaken here, / must 
have been in an error. Your superior knowledge of your 
sister must make the latter probable. — If it be so, if I have 
been misled by such error, to inflict pain on her, your 
resentment has not been unreasonable. But I shall not 
scruple to assert, that the serenity of your sister's coun- 
tenance and air was such, as might have given the most 
acute observer, a conviction that, however amiable her 
temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched. — 
That. T -yy^}^ flfidrnns nf hplipvinor her indifferent iscertain,-^- 
jut I will.^xe nture to. say tTmt'my investigations and 
Jecisions are not usually influenced by my hopes or fears. 
-^^^THiiSTiot believe her to be indifferent because I wished it ; — 
I believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished 


( 198 ) 

it in reason. — My objections to the marriage were not 
merely tliose, which I last night acknowledged to have 
required the utmost force of passion to put aside, in my 
own case ; the want of connection could not be so great 
an evil to my friend as to me. — But there were other 
causes of repugnance ; — causes which, though still existing, 
and existing to an equal degree in both instances, I had 
myself endeavoured to forget, because they were not 
immediately before me. — ^These causes must be stated, 
though briefly. — The situation of your mother's family, 
though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that 
total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly 
betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and 
occasionally even by your father. — Pardon me. — It pains 
me to offend you. But amidst your concern for the 
defects of your nearest relations, and your displeasure at 
this representation of them, let it give you consolation 
to consider that, to have conducted yourselves so as to 
avoid any share of the like censure, is praise no less 
generally bestowed on you and your eldest sister, than it 
is honourable to the sense and disposition of both. — I will 
only say farther, that from Avhat passed that evening, 
my opinion of all parties was confirmed, and every induce- 
ment heightened, which could have led me before, to 
preserve my friend from what I esteemed a most unhappy 
connection. — He left Netherfield for London, on the day 
following, as you, I am certain, remember, with the design 
of soon returning. — The part which I acted, is now to be 
explained. — His sisters' uneasiness had been equally 
excited with my own ; our coincidence of feeling was soon 
discovered ; and, alike sensible that no time was to be 
lost in detaching their brother, we shortly resolved on 
joining him directly in London. — We accordingly went — 
and there I readily engaged in the office of pointing out 
to my friend, the certain evils of such a choice. — I de- 
scribed, and enforced them earnestly. — But, however this 
remonstrance might have staggered or delayed his deter- 
mination, I do not suppose that it would ultimately have 


( 199 ) 

^assurance which I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's 
indifference. He had before beHeved her to return his 
iffection with sincere, if not with equal regard. — But 
{ingley has great natural modesty, wiUi^ajtron^er^depen- 
dence on mj; judgment than on his own. — To convince 
himrt^erefore, that he had deceived hims3f, was no very 
difficult point. To persuade him against returning into 
Hertfordshire, when that conviction had been given, was 
scarcely the work of a moment. — I cannot blame myself 
for having done thus much. There is but one part of my 
conduct in the whole affair, on which I do not reflect 
with satisfaction ; it is that I condescended to adopt the 
measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's 
being in town. I knew it myself, as it was known to 
Miss Bingley, but her brother is even yet ignorant of it. — 
That they might have met without ill consequence, is 
perhaps probable ; — but his regard did not appear to me 
enough extinguished for him to see her without some 
danger. — Perhaps this concealment, this disguise, was 
beneath me. — It is done, however, and it was done for 
the best. — On this subject I have nothing more to say, 
no other apology to offer. ^ I bay^-^ffl?"^^^ F^"^ sis^tpr's 
faijyuag&^,J^ and though the 

motives which governed me may to you very naturally 
appear insufficient, I have not yet learnt to condemn 
them. — With respect to that other, more weighty accusa- 
tion, of having injured Mr. Wickham, I can only refute 
it by laying before you the whole of his connection with 
my family. Of what he has particularly accused me I am 
ignorant ; but of the truth of what I shall relate, I can 
summon more than one witness of undoubted veracity. 
Mr. Wc^iani 4s- -%he son of . .a y ^ry jaespSid^abkLjaian^ who- 
li^aH^f or, niany years the management p_t 9^1. ItJ^Ci^F^Daberi 
estates ; and whose good conduct in the discharge of his 
tnist;'~naturally inclined my father to be of service to 
him, and on George Wickham, who was his god-son, his 
kindness was therefore liberally bestowed. My father 


( 200 ) . 

supported him at school, and afterwards at Cambridge ;-V 
mxDst important assistance, as liis own fatTier, always poor 
from the extravagance of his wife, would have been 
unable to give him a gentleman's education. My father 
was not only fond of this young man's society, whose 
manners were always engaging ; he had also the highest 
opinion of him, and hoping the church would be his 
profession, intended to provide for him in it. As for 
myself, it is many, many years since I first began to think 
of him in a very different manner. The vicious pro- 
pensities — the want of principle which he was careful to 
guard from the knowledge of his best friend, could not 
escape the observation of a young man of nearly the same 
age with himself, and who had opportunities of seeing 
him in unguarded moments, which Mr. Darcy could not 
have. Here again I shall give you pain — to what degree 
you only can tell. But whatever may be the sentiments 
which Mr. Wickham has created, a suspicion of their 
nature shall not prevent me from unfolding his real 
character. It adds even another motive. My excellent 
father died about five years ago ; and his attachment to 
Mr. Wickham was to the last so steady, that in his will 
he particularly recommended it to me, to. prompt^, his 
advancement in the best manner that his profession mig^lrt 
allow, and if he took orders, desired that a valuable family...- 
living might be his as soon as it became vacant. There 
Was also a legacy of one thousand pounds. His own father 
did not long survive mine, and within half a year from 
these events, Mr. Wic kh^^i ^v^ lg^^ to inform me that, 
having^finally resoIvc3 against tal&lng^^^ST^ircjhfoped 
I should noT'TlriTlk' it Unreasonable for KTm to expect 
some more immediate pecuniary advantage, in lieu of the 
preferment, by which he could not be benefited. He had 
some intention, he added, of studying the law, and I must 
be aware that the interest of one thousand pounds would 
be a very insufficient support therein. I rather wished, 
than believed him to be sincere ; but at any rate, was 
perfectly ready to accede to his proposal. I knew that 


( 201 ) 

[r. Wickham ought not to be a clergyman. The business 
ras therefore soon settled. He resigned all claim to 
jsistance in the church, were it possible that he could 
iver be in a situation to receive it, and accepted in return 
tree thou sajoxL^DiOum^s. All connection between ' liS" 
;med now dissolved. I thought too ill of him, to invite 
im to Pemberley, or admit his society in town. In town 
believe he chiefly lived, but his studying the law was 
'a mere pretence, and being now free from all restraint, 
his life was a life of idlQueys andj^issipatiQii. For about 
thi-ee years I heard little of him ; but on the decease • 
of the incumbent of the living which had been designed 
for him, he applied to me again by letter for the presenta- 
tion. His circumstances, he assured me, and I had no 
difficulty in believing it, were exceedingly bad. He had 
found the law a most unprofitable study, and was nog ...--. 
absQ]j4teJy„X'e&olyjs4^on being ordained, if I would present 
him to the living in qu^stToh— of whTcIT "he trusted there 
could be little doubt, as he was well assured that I had 
no other person to provide for, and I could not have 
forgotten my revered father's intentions. You will hardly 
blame me for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or 
for resisting every repetition of it. His resentment was 
in proportion to the distress of his circumstances — and 
he was doubtless as violent in his abuse of me to others, 
as in his reproaches to myself. After this period, every 
appearance of acquaintance was dropt. How he lived 
I know not. But last summer he was again most painfully 
obtruded on my notice. I must now mention a circum- 
stance which I would wish to forget myself, and which 
no obligation less than the present should induce me to 
unfold to any human being. Having said thus much, 
I feel no doubt of your secrecy. ]^y sister, who is more 
than ten years my junior,, was left to the guardianship of ^ 
my mother's nephew. Colonel Fitzwilliam, and myselt 
About a year ago, she was taken from school, and an 
establishment formed for her in London ; and last summer 
she went with the lady who presided over it, to Ramsgate ; 


{ ^02 ) M 

and thither also went Mr. Wickham, undoubtedly by 
design ; for there proved to have been a prior acquaintance 
between him and Mrs. Younge, in whose character we 
were most unhappily deceived ; and by her connivance 
and aid, he so far recommended himself to Georgiana, 
whose aff e(5tionate heart f fetaihed a strong impressidti of 
his kindness to her as a child, that she was persuaded to 
believe herself in love, and to consent to an elop ement . 
She was then but fifteen, which must be her exctise r^nd"""*^ 
after stating her imprudence, I am happy to add, that 
I owed the knowledge of it to herself. I joined them 
unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement, 
and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving 
and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to 
as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. You may 
imagine what I felt and how I acted. Regard for my 
sister's credit and feelings prevented any public exposure, 
but I wrote to Mr. Wickham, who left the place immedi- 
ately, and Mrs. Younge was of course removed from her 
charge. Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably 
my sister 's^^fortuneVwbich is thirty thousand pounds ; 
but I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging 
himself on me, was a strong inducement. His revenge 
would have been complete indeed. This, madam, is a 
faithful narrative of every event in which we have been 
concerned together ; and if you do not absolutely reject 
it as false, you will, I hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty 
towards Mr. Wickham. I know not in what manner, under 
what form of falsehood he has imposed on you ; but his 
success is not perhaps to be wondered at. Ignorant as you 
previously were of every thing concerning either, detec- 
tion could not be in your power, and suspicion certainly 
not in your inclination. You may possibly wonder why 
all this was not told you last night. But I was not then 
master enough of myself to know what could or ought 
to be revealed. For the truth of every thing here related, 
I can appeal more particularly to the testimony of Colonel 
Fitzwilliam, who from our near relationship and constant 


( 203 ) 

intimacy, and still more as one of the executors of my 
father's will, has been unavoidably acquainted with every 
particular of these transactions. If your abhorrence of 
me should make my assertions valueless, you cannot be 
prevented by the same cause from confiding in my cousin ; 
and that there may be the possibility of consulting him, 
I shall endeavour to find sonde opportunity of putting this 
letter in your hands in the course of the morning. I will 
only add, God bless you. 




If Elizabeth, when Mr. Darcy gave her the letter, did 
not expect it to contain a renewal of his offers, she had 
formed no expectation at all of its contents. But such 
as they were, it ma,y be well supposed how eagerly she 
went through them, and what a contrariety of emotion 
they excited. Her feelings as she read were scarcely to 
be defined. With amazement did she first understand 
that he believed any apology to be in his power ; and 
stedfastly was she persuaded that he could have no 
explanation to give, which a just sense of shame would 
not conceal. With a strong pf^JifSTc^ against every thing 
he might say, sEe^began his afccount of what had happened 
at Netherfield. She read, with an eagerness which hardly 
left her power of comprehension, and from impatience of 
knowing what the next sentence might bring, was incapable 
of attending to the sense of the one before her eyes. His 
belief of her sister's insensibility, she instantly resolved 
to be false, and his account of the real, the worst objections 
to the match, made her too angry to have any wish of 
doing him justice. He expressed no regret for what he 
had done which satisfied her ; his style was not penitent, 
but haughty. It was all pride and insolence. 

But when this subject was succeeded by his account 
of Mr. Wickham, when she read with somewhat clearer 
attention, a relation of events, which, if true, must over- 
throw every cherished opinion of his worth, and which 
bore so alarming an affinity to his own history of himself, 
her feelings were yet more acutely painful and more 
difficult of definition. Astonishment, apprehension, and 
even horror, oppressed her. She wished to discredit it 
entirely, repeatedly exclaiming, " This must be false ! 
This cannot be ! This must be the grossest falsehood ! " — 
and when she had gone through the whole letter, though ■ 


scarcely knowing any thing of the last page or two, put 
it hastily away, protesting that she would not regard it, 
that she would never look in it again. 

In this perturbed state of mind, with thoughts that 
could rest on nothing, she walked on ; but it would not 
do ; in half a minute the letter was unfolded again, and 
collecting herself as well as she could, she again began 
the mortifying ' perusal of all that related to Wickham, 
and commanded herself so far as to examine the meaning 
of every sentence. The account of his connection with 
the Pemberley family, was exactly what he had related 
himself ; and the kindness of the late Mr. Darcy, though 
she had not before known its extent, agreed equally well 
with his own words. So far each recital confirmed the 
other : but when she came to the will, the difference was 
great. What Wickham had said of the living was fresh 
in her memory, and as she recalled his very words, it was 
impossible not to feel that there was gross duplicity on 
one side or the other ; and, for a few moments, she flattered 
herself that her wishes did not err. But when she read, 
and re-read with the closest attention, the particulars 
immediately following of Wickham's resigning all preten- 
sions to the living, of his receiving in lieu, so considerable 
a sum as three thousand pounds, again was she forced 
to hesitate. She put down the letter, weighed every 
circumstance with what she meant to be impartiality — 
deliberated on the probability of each statement — but 
with little success. On both sides it was only assertion. 
Again she read on. But every line proved more clearly 
that the affair, which she had believed it impossible that 
any contrivance could so represent, as to render J^r. Darcy's 
conduct in it less than infamous, was capable of a turn 
which must make him entirely blameless throughout..the 

The extravagance and general profligacy which he 
scrupled not to lay to Mr. Wickham's charge, exceedingly 
shocked her ; the more so, as she could bring no proof 
of its injustice. She had never heard of him before his 


( 206 ) 

entrance into the shire Militia, in which he had 

engaged at the persuasion of the young man, who, on 
meeting him accidentally in town, had there renewed 
a slight acquaintance. Of his former way of life, nothing 
had been known in Hertfordshire but what he told himself. 
As to his real character, had information been in her 
power, she had never felt a wish of enquiring. His coun- 
tenance, voice, and manner, had established him at once 
in the possession of every virtue. She tried to recollect 
some instance of goodness, some distinguished trait of 
integrity or benevolence, that might rescue him from 
the attacks of Mr. Darcy ; or at least, by the predominance 
of virtue, atone for those casual errors, under which she 
would endeavour to class, what Mr. Darcy had described 
as the idleness and vice of many years continuance. 
But no such recollection befriended her. She could see 
him instantly before her, in every charm of air and address ; 
but she could remember no more substantial good than 
the general approbation of the neighbourhood, and the 
regard which his social powers had gained him in the mess. 
After pausing on this point a considerable while, she once 
more continued to read. But, alas ! the story which 
followed of his designs on Miss Darcy, received some 
confirmation from what had passed between Colonel 
Fitzwilliam and herself only the morning before ; and at 
last she was referred for the truth of every particular to 
Colonel Fitzwilliam himself — from whom she had previously 
received the information of his near concern in all his 
cousin's affairs, and whose character she had no reason 
to question. At one time she had almost resolved on 
applying to him, but the idea was checked by the awkward- 
ness of the application, and at length wholly banished 
by the conviction that Mr. Darcy would never have 
hazarded such a proposal, if he had not been well assured 
of his cousin's corroboration. 

She perfectly remembered every thing that had passed 
in conversation between Wickham and herself, in their 
first evening at Mr. Philips's. Many of his expressions 



( 207 ) 

were still fresh in her memory. She was niyw struck with 
the impropriety of such communications to a stranger, 
and wondered it had escaped her before. She saw the 
indelicacy of putting himself forward as he had done, 
and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct. 
She remembered that he had boasted of having no fear 
of seeing Mr. Darcy — that Mr. Darcy might leave the 
country, but that he should stand his ground ; yet he 
had avoided the Netherfield ball the very next week. 
She remembered also, that till the Netherfield family had 
quitted the country, he had told his story to no one but 
herself ; but that after their removal, it had been every 
where discussed ; that he had then no reserves, no scruples 
in sinking Mr. Darcy's character, though he had assured 
her that respect for the father, would always prevent his 
exposing the son. 

How differently did every thing now appear in which 
he was concerned ! His attentions to Miss King were 
now the consequence of views solely and hatefully mer- 
cenary ; and the mediocrity of her fortune proved no longer 
the moderation of his wishes, but his eagerness to grasp 
at any thing. His behaviour to herself could now have 
had no tolerable motive ; he had either been deceived 
with regard to her fortune, or had been gratifying his 
vanity by encouraging the preference which she believed 
she had most incautiously shewn. Every lingering struggle 
in his favour grew fainter and fainter ; an d in fa rther 
justification of Mr. Darcy, she could not but alio w"^lhat 
Mr. Bingley, when questioned by Jane, had long ago 
asserted his blamelessness in the affair ; that proud and 
repulsive as were his manners, she had never, in the whole 
course of their acquaintance, an acquaintance which had 
latterly brought them much together, and given her a sort 
of intimacy with his ways, seen any thing that betrayed 
him to be unprincipled or unjust — any thing that spoke 
him of irreligious or immoral habits. That among his 
own connections he was esteemed and valued — that even 
Wickham had allowed him merit as a brother, and that 


( 208 ) 

she had often heard him ^peak so affectionately of his 

sister as to prove him capable of some amiable feeling. 

That had his actions been what Wickham represented 

them, so gross a violation of every thing right could hardly 

have been concealed from the world ; and that friendship 

between a person capable of it, and such an amiable man 

as Mr. Bingley, was incomprehensible. 

^^ She grew nbsn 1i>4f4u--ag>iflrnfd fvf_j^S^f — Of neither 

I Darcy nor Wickham could-«he^1iThk, wrthout feeling that 

/ she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd. 

L— ^ " How desj)icably have I acted ! " she cried. — " I, who 

haveHprided myself on ' niy disc^Mffiellt l^^iV'-wha-have 

valued myself on my abilities ! who have often disdained 

the generous candour of my sister, and gratified riiy vanity, 

I fin useless or blameable distrust. — How humiliating is this 

discovery ! — Yet, how just a humiliation ! — Had I been 

in love, I could not have been more wretchedly'T5lind. 

But vanity, not love, has been my folly. — Pleased with 

J the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the 

kOther, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have 

(courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven .Reason 

Wway, where either were concerned. Till tliis moment, 

I never knew myself." 

From herself to Jane — from Jane to Bingley, her 
thoughts were in a line which soon brought to her recollec- 
tion that Mr. Darcy's explanation there, had appeared 
very insufficient ; and she read it again. Widely different 
was the effect of a second perusal. — How could she deny 
that credit to his assertions, in one instance, which she 
had been obliged to give in the other ? — He declared 
himself to have been totally unsuspicious of her sister's 
attachment ; — and she could not help remembering what 
Charlotte's opinion had always been. — ^Neither could she 
deny the justice of his description of Jane. — She felt that 
Jane's feelings, though fervent, were little displayed, and 
that there was a constant complacency in her air and 
manner, not often united with great sensibility. 

When she came to that part of the letter in which 


( 209 ) 

her family were mentioned, in terms of such mortifying, 
yet merited reproach, her sense of shame was severe. 
The justice of the charge struck her too forcibly for denial, 
and the circumstances to which he particularly alluded, 
as having passed at the Netherfield ball, and as confirming 
all his first disapprobation,- could not have made a stronger 
impression on his mind than on hers. 

The compliment to herself and her sister, was not 
unfelt. It soothed, but it could not console her for the 
contempt which had been thus self-attracted by the rest 
of her family ; — and as she considered that Jane's dis- 
appointment had in fact been the work of her nearest 
relations, and reflected how materially the credit of both 
must be hurt by such impropriety of conduct, she felt 
depressed beyond any thing she had ever known before. 

After wandering along the lane for two hours, giving 
way to every variety of thought ; re-considering events, 
determining probabilities, and reconciling herself as well 
as she could, to a change so sudden and so important, 
fatigue, and a recollection of her long absence, made her 
at length return home ; and she entered the house with 
the wish of appearing cheerful as usual, and the resolution 
of repressing such reflections as must make her unfit for 

She was immediately told, that the two gentlemen from 
Rosings had each called during her absence ; Mr. Darcy, 
only for a few minutes to take leave, but that Colonel 
Fitzwilliam had been sitting with them at least an hour, 
hoping for her return, and almost resolving to walk after 
her till she could be found. — Elizabeth could but just 
ajfect concern in missing him ; she really rejoiced at it. 
Colonel Fitzwilliam was no longer an object. She could 
think only of Jher letter. ' """^ 

'.P. 9 CHAP- 

( 210 ) 



The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morning ; 
and Mr* Collins having been in waiting near the lodges, 
to make them his parting obeisance, was able to bring 
home the pleasing intelligence, of their appearing in very- 
good health, and in as tolerable spirits as could be 
expected, after the melancholy scene so lately gone 
through at Rosings. To Rosings he then hastened to 
console Lady Catherine, and her daughter ; and on his 
return, brought back, with great satisfaction, a message 
from her Ladyship, importing that she felt herself so 
dull as to make her very desirous of having them all to 
dine with her. 

Elizabeth could not see Lady Catherine without recol- 
lecting, that had she chosen it, she might by this time 
have been presented to her, as her future niece ; nor 
could she think, without a smile, of what her ladyship's 
indignation would have been. " What would she have 
said ? — how would she have behaved ? " were questions 
with which she amused herself. 

Their first subject was the diminution of the Rosings 
party. — " I assure you, I feel it exceedingly," said Lady 
Catherine ; " I believe nobody feels the loss of friends so 
jauckas I do . But I am particularly attached to these 
young men ; and know them to be so much attached to 
me ! — They were excessively sorry to go ! But so they 
always are. The dear colonel rallied his spirits tolerably 
till just at last ; but Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely, 
more I think than last year. His attachment to Rosings, 
certainly increases." 

Mr. Collins had a compliment, and an allusion to throw 
in here, which were kindly smiled on by the mother and 


( 211 ) 

Lady Catherine observed, after dinner, that Miss 
Bennet seemed out of spirits, and immediately account- 
ing for it herself, by supposing that she did not like to 
go home again so soon, she added, 

" But if that is the case, you must write to your mother 
to beg that you may stay a little longer. Mrs. Collins 
will be very glad of your company, I am sure." 

" I am much obliged to your ladyship for your kind 
invitation," replied Elizabeth, " but it is not in my power 
to accept it. — I must be in town next Saturday." 

" Why, at that rate, you will have been here only six 
weeks. I expected you to stay two months. I told Mrs. 
Collins so before you came. There can be no occasion 
for your going so soon. Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare 
you for another fortnight." 

" But my father cannot. —He wrote last week to hurry 
my return." 

" Oh ! your father of course may spare you, if your 
mother can. — Daughters are never of so much consequence 
to a father. And if you will stay another month complete, 
it will be in my power to take one of you as far as London, 
for I am going there early in June, for a week ; and as 
DaWson does not object to the Barouche box, there 
will be very good room for one of you — and indeed, 
if the weather should happen to be cool, I should not 
object to taking you both, as you are neither of you 

" You are all kindness. Madam ; but I believe we must 
abide by our original plan." 

Lady Catherine seemed resigned. 

" Mrs. Collins, you must send a servant with them. 
You know I always speak my mind, and I cannot bear the 
idea of two young women travelling post by themselves. 
It is highly improper. You must contrive to send some- 
body. I have the greatest dislike in the world to that 
sort of thing. — ^Young women should always be properly 
guarded and attended, according to their situation in 
life. When my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last 

p 2 summer. 

( 212 ) 

summer, I made a point of her having two men servants 
go with her. — Miss Daroy, the daughter of Mr. Darcy, 
of Pemberley, and Lady Anne, could not have appeared 
with propriety in a different manner. — I am excessively 
attentive to all those things. You must send John with 
the young ladies, Mrs. Collins. I am glad it occurred to 
me to mention it ; for it would really be discreditable to 
you to let them go alone." 

" My uncle is to send a servant for us." 

" Oh ! — Your uncle ! — He keeps a man-servant, does 
he ? — I am very glad you have somebody who thinks of 
those things. Where shall you change horses ? — Oh ! 
Bromley, of course. — If you mention my name at the 
Bell, you will be attended to." 

Lady Catherine had many other questions to ask 
respecting their journey, and as she did not answer them 
all herself, attention was necessary, which Elizabeth 
believed to be lucky for her ; or, with a mind so occupied, 
she might have forgotten where she was. Reflection 
must be reserved for solitary hours ; whenever she was 
alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief ; and 
not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which 
she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recol- 

5Xr. Darcy's lctter,-sk&*wa&^ittA«laiy.i¥4XJtlL5^*^^l*^ 
by heart. She^tudied .every sentence : and her feelings 
towards its Writer were at fimes""'wicrely different. When 
she remembered the style of his address, she was still 
full of indignation ; but when she considered how unjustly 
she had condemned and upbraided him, her anger was 
turned against herself ; and his disappointed feelings 
became the object of compassion. His attachment excited 
gratitude, his general character respect ; but she could 
not approve him ; nor could she for a moment repent 
her refusal, or feel the slightest inclination ever to see 
him again. In her own past behaviour, there was a con- 
stant source of vexation and regret ; and in the unhappy 
defects of her family a subject of yet heavier chagrin. 


{ ns ) 

They were hopeless of remedy. Her father, contented 
with laughing at them, would never exert himself to 
restrain the wild giddiness of his youngest daughters ; and 
her mother, with manners so far from right herself, was 
entirely insensible of the evil. Elizabeth had frequently 
united with Jane in an endeavour to check the imprudence 
of Catherine and Lydia ; but while they were supported 
by their mother's indulgence, what chance could there be 
of improvement ? Catherine, weak-spirited, irritable, and 
completely under Lydia's guidance, had been always 
affronted by their advice ; and Lydia, self-willed and 
careless, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were 
ignorant, idle, and vain. While there was an officer in 
Meryton, they would flirt with him ; and while Meryton 
was within a walk of Longbourn, they would be going 
there for ever. 

Anxiety on Jane's behalf, was another prevailing con- 
cern, and Mr. Darcy's explanation, by restoring Bingley 
to all her former good opinion, heightened the sense of 
what Jane had lost. His affection was proved to have 
been sincere, and his conduct cleared of all blame, unless 
any could attach to the implicitness of his confidence in 
his friend. How grievous then was the thought that, 
of a situation so desirable in every respect, so replete 
with advantage, so promising for happiness, Jane had 
been deprived, by the folly and indecorum of her own 
family ! 

When to these recollections was added the developement 
of Wickham's character, it may be easily believed that 
the happy spirits which had seldom been depressed before, 
were now so much affected as to make it almost impossible 
for her to appear tolerably cheerful. 

Their engagements at Rosings were as frequent during 
the last week of her stay, as they had been at first. The 
very last evening was spent there ; and her Ladyship 
again enquired minutely into the particulars of their 
journey, gave them directions as to the best method of 
packing, and was so urgent on the necessity of placing 


( 214 ) 

gowns in the only right way, that Maria thought herself 
obliged, on her return, to undo all the work of the morning, 
and pack her trunk afresh. 

When they parted, Lady Catherine, with great con- 
descension, wished them a good journey, and invited them 
to come to Hunsford again next year ; and Miss De Bourgh 
exerted herself so far as to curtsey and hold out her hand 
to both. 


( 215 ) 


On Saturday morning Elizabeth and Mr. Collins met 
for breakfast a few minutes before the others appeared ; 
and he took the opportunity of paying the parting civilities 
which he deemed indispensably necessary. 

" I know not, Miss Elizabeth," said he, " whether 
Mrs. Collins has yet expressed her sense of your kindness 
in coming to us, but I am very certain you will not leave 
the house without receiving her thanks for it. The favour 
of your company has been much felt, I assure you. We 
know how little there is to tempt any one to our humble 
abode. Our plain manner of living, our small rooms, and 
few domestics, and the little we see of the world, must 
make Hunsford extremely dull to a young lady like your- 
self ; but I hope you will believe us grateful for the 
condescension, and that we have done every thing in our 
power to prevent your spending your time unpleasantly." 

Elizabeth was eager with her thanks and assurances of 
happiness. She had spent six weeks with great enjoyment ; 
and the pleasure of being with Charlotte, and the kind 
attentions she had received, must make her feel the obliged. 
Mr. Collins was gratified ; and with a more smiling 
solemnity replied, 

" It gives me the greatest pleasure to hear that you 
have passed your time not disagreeably. We have 
certainly done our best ; and most fortunately having it 
in our power to introduce you to very superior society, 
and from our connection with Rosings, the frequent means 
of varying the humble home scene, I think we may flatter 
ourselves that your Hunsford visit cannot have been 
entirely irksome. Our situation with regard to Lady 
Catherine's family is indeed the sort of extraordinary 


{ 216 ) 

advantage and blessing which few can boast. You see 
on what a footing we are. You see how continually we are 
engaged there. In truth I must acknowledge that, with 
all the disadvantages of this humble parsonage, I should 
not think any one abiding in it an object of compassion, 
while they are sharers of our intimacy at Rosings." 

Words were insufficient for the elevation of his feelings ; 
and he was obliged to walk about the room, while Eliza- 
beth tried to unite civihty and truth in a few short 

" You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of 
us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. I flatter myself 
at least that you will be able to do so. Lady Catherine's 
great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily 
witness of ; and altogether I trust it does not appear 
that your friend has drawn an unfortunate — but on this 
point it will be as well to be silent. Only let me assure 
you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart 
most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My 
dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of 
thinking. There is in every thing a most remarkable 
resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem 
to have been designed for each other." 

Elizabeth could safely say that it was a great happiness 
where that was the case, and with equal sincerity could 
add that she firmly believed and rejoiced in his domestic 
comforts. She was not sorry, however, to have the recital 
of them interrupted by the entrance of the lady from whom 
they sprung. Poor Charlotte ! — it was melancholy to 
leave her to such society ! — But she had chosen it with 
her eyes open ; and though evidently regretting that her 
visitors were to go, she did not seem to ask for compassion. 
Her home and her housekeeping, her parish and her 
poultry, and all their dependent concerns, had not yet 
lost their charms. 

At length the chaise arrived, the trunks were fastened 
on, the parcels placed within, and it was pronounced to 
be ready. After an affectionate parting between the 


( 217 ) 

friends, Elizabeth was attended to the carriage by Mr. 
ColHns, and as they walked down the garden, he was 
commissioning her with his best respects to all her family, 
not forgetting his thanks for the kindness he had received 
at Longbourn in the winter, and his compliments to Mr. 
and Mrs. Gardiner, though unknown. He then handed 
her in, Maria followed, and the door was on the point 
of being closed, when he suddenly reminded them, with 
some consternation, that they had hitherto forgotten to. 
leave any message for the ladies of Rosings. 

" But," he added, " you will of course wish to have 
your humble respects delivered to them, with your grateful 
thanks for their kindness to you while you have been here." 

Elizabeth made no objection ; — the door was then 
allowed to be shut, and the carriage drove off. 

" Good gracious ! " cried Maria, after a few minutes 
silence, " it seems but a day or two since we first came ! — 
and yet how many things have happened ! " 

" A great many indeed," said her companion with 
a sigh. 

" We have dined nine times at Rosings, besides drinking 
tea there twice ! — How much I shall have to tell ! " 

Elizabeth privately added, " And how much I shall 
have to conceal." 

Their journey was performed without much conver- 
sation, or any alarm ; and within four hours of their 
leaving Hunsford, they reached Mr. Gardiner's house, 
where they were to remain a few days. 

Jane looked well, and Elizabeth had little opportunity 
of studying her spirits, amidst the various engagements 
which the kindness of her aunt had reserved for them. 
But Jane was to go home with her, and at Longbourn 
there would be leisure enough for observation. 

It was not without an effort meanwhile that she could 
wait even for Longbourn, before she told her sister of 
Mr. Darcy's proposals. To know that she had the power 
of revealing what would so exceedingly astonish Jane, 


( 218 ) 

and must, at the same time, so highly gratify whatever 
of her own vanity she had not yet been able to reason 
away, was such a temptation to openness as nothing could 
have conquered, but the state of indecision in which she 
remained, as to the extent of what she should communi- 
cate ; and her fear, if she once entered on the subject, of 
being hurried into repeating something of Bingley, which 
might only grieve her sister farther. 


( 219 ) 


It was the second week in May, in which the three 
young ladies set out together' from Gracechurch-street, for 

the town of in Hertfordshire ; and, as they drew 

near the appointed inn where Mr. Bennet's carriage was 
to meet them, they quickly perceived, in token of the 
coachman's punctuality, both Kitty and Lydia looking 
out of a dining room up stairs. These two girls had been 
above an hour in the place, happily employed in visiting 
an opposite milliner, watching the sentinel on guard, and 
dressing a sallad and cucumber. 

After welcoming their sisters, they triumphantly dis- 
played a table set out with such cold meat as an inn larder 
usually affords, exclaiming, " Is not this nice ? is not 
this an agreeable surprise ? " 

" And we mean to treat you all," added Lydia ; " but 
you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours 
at the shop out there." Then shewing her purchases : 
'' Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think 
it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it 
as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, 
and see if I can make it up any better." 

And when her sisters abused it as ugly, she added, 
with perfect unconcern, " Oh ! but there were two or 
three much uglier in the shop ; and when I have bought 
some prettier-coloured satin to trim it with fresh, I think 
it will be very tolerable. Besides, it will not much signify 

what one wears this summer, after the shire have 

left Meryton, and they are going in a fortnight." 

" Are they indeed ? " cried Elizabeth, with the greatest 

" They are going to be encamped near Brighton ; and 
I do so want papa to take us all there for the summer ! 
It would be such a delicious scheme, and I dare say 


( 220 ) 

would hardly cost any thing at all. Mamma would like 
to go too of all things ! Only think what a miserable 
summer else we shall have ! " 

" Yes," thought Elizabeth, " that would be a dehght- 
ful scheme, indeed, and completely do for us at once. 
Good Heaven ! Brighton, and a whole campful of soldiers, 
to us, who have been overset already by one poor regiment 
of militia, and the monthly balls of Meryton." 

" Now I have got some news for you," said Lydia, as 
they sat down to table. " What do you think ? It is 
excellent news, capital news, and about a certain person 
that we all like." 

Jane and Elizabeth looked at each other, and the 
waiter was told that he need not stay. Lydia laughed, 
and said, 

" Aye, that is just like your formality and discretion. 
You thought the waiter must not hear, as if he cared ! 
I dare say he often hears worse things said than I am 
going to say. But he is an ugly fellow ! I am glad he is 
gone. I never saw such a long chin in my life. Well, but 
now for my news : it is about dear Wickham ; too good 
for the waiter, is not it ? There is no danger of Wickham's 
marrying Mary King. There 's for you ! She is gone down 
to her uncle at Liverpool ; gone to stay. Wickham is 

" And Mary King is safe ! " added Elizabeth ; " safe 
from a connection imprudent as to fortune." 

" She is a great fool for going away, if she liked him." 

" But I hope there is no strong attachment on either 
side," said Jane. 

" I am sure there is not on Ms. I will answer for it 
he never cared three straws about her. Who could about 
such a nasty little freckled thing ? " 

Elizabeth was shocked to think that, however incapable 
of such coarseness of expression herself, the coarseness 
of the sentiment was little other than her own breast had 
formerly harboured and fancied liberal ! 

As soon as all had ate, and the elder ones paid, the 


( 221 ) 

carriage was ordered ; and after some contrivance, the 
whole party, with all their boxes, workbags, and parcels, 
and the unwelcome addition of Kitty's and Lydia's 
purchases, were seated in it. 

" How nicely we are crammed in ! " cried Lydia. " I am 
glad I bought my bonnet, if it is only for the fun of having 
another bandbox ! Well, now let us be quite comfortable 
and snug, and talk and laugh all the way home. And 
in the first place, let us hear what has happened to you 
all, since you went away. Have you seen any pleasant 
men ? Have you had any flirting ? I was in great hopes 
that one of you would have got a husband before you came 
back. Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. 

iShe is almost three and twenty ! Lord, how ashamed 
,1 should be of not being married before three and twenty ! 
(My aunt Philips wants you so to get husbands, you can't 
f hink. She says Lizzy had better have taken Mr, Collins ; 
but / do not think there would have been any fun in it. 
Lord ! how I should like to be married before any of you ; 
and then I would chaperon you about to all the balls. 
Dear me ! we had such a good pieco^ of fun the other day m\j, 

at Colonel Forster's. Kitty and ^m were to spend the igs '^ ^j^ 
day there, and Mrs. Forster promised to have a little //*" ^vT^^ 
dance in the evening ; (by the bye, Mrs. Forster and y JM^^ 

nje are such friends !) and so she asked the two Harringtons 
to come, but Harriet was ill, and so Pen was forced to 
come by herself ; and then, what do you think we did ? 
We dressed up Chamberlayne in woman's clothes, on 
purpose to pass for a lady, — only think what fun ! Not 
a soul knew of it, but Col. and Mrs. Forster, and 
Kitty and me, except my aunt, for we were forced to 
borrow one of her gowns ; and you cannot imagine how 
well he looked ! When Denny, and Wickham, and Pratt, 
and two or three more of the men came in, they did not 
know him in the least. Lord ! how I laughed ! and so 
did Mrs. Forster. I thought I should have died. And 
that made the men suspect something, and then they soon 
found out what was the matter." • 


( 222 ) 

With such kind of histories of their parties and good 
jokes, did Lydia, assisted by Kitty's hints and additions, 
endeavour to amuse her companions all the way to Long- 
bourn. Elizabeth listened as little as she could, but there 
was no escaping the frequent mention of Wickham's 
name. V/ 

Their reception at home was most kind. Mrs. Bennet 
rejoiced to see Jane in undiminished beauty ; and more 
than once during dinner did Mr. Bennet say voluntarily 
to Elizabeth, 

" I am glad you are come back, Lizzy." 

Their party in the dining-room was large, for almost 
all the Lucases came to meet Maria and hear the news : 
and various were the subjects which occupied them ; 
lady Lucas was enquiring of Maria across the table, after 
the welfare and poultry of her eldest daughter; Mrs. Bennet 
was doubly engaged, on one hand collecting an account 
of the present fashions from Jane, who sat some way 
below her, and on the other, retailing them all to the 
younger Miss Lucases ; and Lydia, in a voice rather 
louder than any other person's, was enumerating the 
various pleasures of the morning to any body who would 
hear her. 

" Oh ! Mary," said she, " I wish you had gone with 
us, for we had such fun ! as we went along, Kitty and 
me drew up all the blinds, and pretended there was 
nobody in the coach ; and I should have gone so all the 
way, if Kitty had not been sick ; and when we got to 
the George, I do think we behaved very handsomely, for 
we treated the other three with the nicest cold luncheon 
in the world, and if you would have gone, we would have 
treated you too. And then when we came away it was 
such fun ! I thought we never should have got into the 
coach. I was ready to die of laughter. And then we were 
so merry all the way home ! we talked and laughed so 
loud, that any body might have heard us ten miles off ! " 

To this, Mary very gravely replied, " Far be it from 
me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures. They 


-^^ '-.^ 

( 223 ) 

would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female 
minds. But I confess they would have no charms for me, 
I should infinitely prefer a book." 

But of this answer Lydia heard not a word. She seldom 
listened to any body for more than half a minute, and 
never attended to Mary at all. 

In the afternoon Lydia was urgent with the rest of the 
girls to walk to Meryton and see how every body went on ; 
but Elizabeth steadily opposed the scheme. It should 
not be said, that the Miss Bennets could not be at home 
half a day before they were in pursuit of the officers. 
There was another reason too for her opposition. She 
dreaded seeing Wickham again, and was resolvecj to avoid 
it as long as possible. The comfort to her, of the regiment's 
approaching removal, was indeed beyond expression. In 
a fortnight they were to go, and once gone, she hoped 
there could be nothing more to plague her on his account. 

She had not been many hours at home, before she found 
that the Brighton scheme, of which Lydia had given them 
a hint at the inn, was under frequent discussion between 
her parents. Elizabeth saw directly that her father had 
not the smallest intention of yielding ; but his answers 
were' at the same time so vague and equivocal, that her 
mother, though often disheartened, had never yet des- 
paired of succeeding at last. 


( 224 ) 


Elizabeth's impatience-.JtQ acquaint Jane_witll..wliat 
haoTiappened could no longer be overcome ; and at length 
reSbtving to suppress every particular in which her sister 
was concerned, and preparing her to be surprised, she 
related to her the next morning the chief of the scene 
between Mr. Darcy and herself. 

Miss Bennet's astonishment was soon lessened by the 
strong sisterly partiality which made any admiration of 
\ Elizabeth appear perfectly natural ; and all surprise was 
shortly lost in other feelings. She was sorry that Mr. 
Darcy should have delivered his sentiments in a manner 
so little suited to recommend them ; but still more was 
she grieved for the unhappiness which her sister's refusal 
must have given him. 

" His being so sure of succeeding, was wrong," said she ; 
" and certainly ought not to have appeared ; but consider 
how much it must increase his disappointment." 

" Indeed," replied Elizabeth, " I am heartily sorry for 
him ; but he has other feelings which will probably soon 
drive away his regard for me. You do not blame me, 
however, for refusing him ? " 

" Blame you ! Oh, no." 

" But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of 

" No — I do not know that you were wrong in saying 
what you did." 

" But you will know it, when I have told you what 
happened the very next day." 

She thea spoke of tUe letter, repeating the whole of its 
contents as far as they concerned George Wickham. 
What a stroke was this for poor Jane ! who would willingly 
have gone through the world without believing that so 
much wickedness existed in the whole race of mankind, 


( 225 ) 

was here collected in one individual. Nor was Darcy's 

ndication, though grateful to her feelings, capable of 
consoling her for such discovery. Most earnestly did she 
labour to prove the probability of error, and seek to clear 
one, without involving the other. 

"This will not do," said Ehzabeth. "You never will 
be able to make both of them good for any thing. Take 
your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. 
There is but such a quantity of merit between them ; ^ 
just enough to make one good sort of man ; and of late 
it has been shifting about pretty much. For my part, 
I am inchned to believe it all Mr. Darcy's, but you shall 
do as you chuse." 

It was some time, however, before a smile could be 
extorted from Jane. 

" I do not know when I have been more shocked," 
said she. " Wickham so very bad ! It is almost past 
belief. And poor Mr. Darcy ! dear Lizzy, only consider 
what he must have suffered. Such a disappointment ! 
and with the knowledge of your ill opinion too ! and having 
to relate such a thing of his sister ! It is really too dis- 
tressing. I am sure you must feel it so." 

" Oh ! no, my regret and compassion are all done away 
by seeing you so full of both. I know you will do him 
such ample justice, that I am growing every moment 
more unconcerned and indifferent. Your profusion makes 
me saving ; and if you lament over him much longer, 
my heart will be as light as a feather." 

" Poor Wickham ; there is such an expression of good- 
ness in his countenance ! such an openness and gentleness 
in hig manner." 
p-T^'here certainly was some great mismanagement in 
J the education of those two young men. One has got all 
t^the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it." 

** I never thought Mr. Darcy so deficient in the appear" 
ance of it as you used to do." 

" And yet I meant to be uncommonly cle_ver in taking 
so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. It is 

p- p- Q such 


( 226 ) 

such a spur to one's genius, such an opening for wit to 
have a disHke of that kind. One may be continually 
abusive without saying any thing just ; but one cannot 
be always laughing at a man without now and then 
" stumbling on something wi]:ty." 

" Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am sure you 
could not treat the matter as you do now." 

" Indeed I could not. I was uncomfortable enough. 
I was very uncomfortable, I may say unhappy. And with 
no one to speak to, of what I felt, no Jane to comfort 
me and say that I had not been so very weak and vain 
and nonsensical as I knew I had ! Oh ! how I wanted you ! '* 

" How unfortunate that you should have used such very 
strong expressions in speaking of Wickham to Mr. Darcy, 
for now they do appear wholly undeserved." 

" Certainly. But the misfortune of speaking with 
bitterness, is a most natural consequence of the prejudices 
I had been encouraging. There is one point, on which 
I want your advice. I want to be told whether I ought, 
or ought not to make our acquaintance in general under- 
stand Wickham's character." 

Miss Bennet paused a little and then replied, " Surely 
there can be no occasion for exposing him so dreadfully. 
What is your own opinion ? " 

" That it ought not to be attempted. Mr. Darcy has 
not authorised me to make his communication public. 
On the contrary every particular relative to his sister, 
was meant to be kept as much as possible to myself ; 
and if I endeavour to undeceive people as to the rest 
of his conduct, who will believe me ? The general pre- 
judice against Mr. Darcy is so violent, that it would be 
the death of half the good people in Meryton, to attempt 
to place him in an amiable light. I am not equal to it. 
> Wickham will soon be gone ; and therefore it will not 
signify to anybody here, what he really is. Sometime 
hence it will be all found out, and then we may laugh 
at their stupidity in not knowing it before. At present 
I will say nothing about it." 


( 9m ) 

■ " You are quite right. To have his errors made public 
might ruin him for ever. He is now perhaps sorry for 

f what he has done, and anxious to re-establish a character. 
We must not make him desperate." 

The^tnn^^lt qf Elizabeth's mind was allayed by this 
conversation. She had got rid of two of the secrets which 
had weighed oh her for a fortnight, and was cef tain of 
a willing listener in Jane, whenever she might wish to 
talk again of either. But there was still something lurking 
behind, of which prudence forbad the disclosure. She dared 
not relate the other half of Mr. Darcy's letter, nor explain to 
her sister how sincerely she had been valued by his friend. 
Here was knowledge in which no one could partake ; 
and she was sensible that nothing less than a perfect 
understanding between the parties could justify her in 
throwing off this last incumbrance of mystery. " And 
then," said she, " if that very improbable event should 
ever take place, I shall merely be able to tell what Bingley 
may tell in a much more agreeable manner himself. The 
liberty of communication cannot be mine till it has lost 
all its vajue ! " 

She was now, on being settled at home, at leisure to 
observe the real state of her sister's spirits. Jane was 
not happy. She still cherished a very tender affection 
for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love 
before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, 
and from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than 
first attachments often boast ; and so fervently did she 
value his remembrance, and prefer him to every other 
man, that all her good sense, and all her attention to the 
feelings of her friends, were requisite to check the indul- 
gence of those regrets, which must have been injurious 
to her own health and their tranquillity. 

" Well, Lizzy," said Mrs. Bennet one day, " what is 
your opinion now of this sad business of Jane's ? For my 
part, I am determined never to speak of it again to any- 
body. I told my sister Philips so the other day. But 
I cannot find out that Jane saw any thing of him in London. 

Q 2 Well, 

( 2^ ) 

Well, he is a very undeserving young man — ^and I do not 
suppose there is the least chance in the world of her ever 
getting him now. There is no talk of his coming to Nether- 
field again in the summer ; and I have enquired of every 
body too, who is likely to know." 

" I do not believe that he will ever live at Netherfield 
any more." 

" Oh, well ! it is just as he chooses. Nobody wants 
him to come. Though I shall always say that he used 
my daughter extremely ill ; and if I was her, I would 
not have put up with it. WeU, mycomf ort is, I am sure 
Jane will die of a broken hearvanathen he will be sorry 
for what he has done." 

But as Elizabeth could not receive comfort from any 
such expectation, she made no answer. 

" Well, Lizzy," continued her mother soon afterwards, 
" and so the Collinses live very comfortable, do they ? 
Well, well, I only hope it will last. And what sort of table 
do they keep ? Charlotte is an excellent manager, I dare 
say. If she is half as sharp as her mother, she is saving 
enough. There is nothing extravagant in their house- 
keeping, I dare say." 

" No, nothing at all." 

" A great deal of good management, depend upon it. 
Yes, yes. They will take care not to outrun their income. 
They will never be distressed for money. Well, much good 
may it do them ! And so, I suppose, they often talk of 
having Longbourn when your father is dead. They look 
upon it quite as their own, I dare say, whenever that 

" It was a subject which they could not mention before 

" No. It would have been strange if they had. But 
I make no doubt, they often talk of it between themselves. 
Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not lawfully 
their own, so much the better. / should be ashamed of 
having one that was only entailed on me." 


( 229 ) 


The first week of their return was soon gone. The 
second began. It was the last of the regiment's stay in 
Meryton, and all the young ladies in the neighbourhood 
were drooping apace. The dejection was almost universal. 
The elder Miss Bennets alone were still able to eat, drink, 
and sleep, and pursue the usual course of their employ- 
ments. Very frequently were they reproached for this 
insensibility by Kitty and Lydia, whose own misery was 
extreme, and who could not comprehend such hard- 
heartedness in any of the family. 

" Good Heaven ! What is to become of us ! What are 
we to do ! " would they often exclaim in the bitterness 
of woe. " How can you be smiling so, Lizzy ? " 

Their affectionate mother shared all their grief ; she 
remembered what she had herself endured on a similar 
occasion, five and twenty years ago. 

" I am sure," said she, " I cried for two days together 
when Colonel Millar's regiment went away. I thought 
I should have broke my heart." 

" I am sure I shall break ww2€," said Lydia. 

" If one could but go to Brighton ! " observed Mrs. 

" Oh, yes ! — if one could but go to Brighton ! But papa 
is so disagreeable." 

" A little sea-bathing would set me up for ever." 

" And my aunt Philips is sure it would do me a great 
deal of good," added Kitty. 

Such were the kind of lamentations resounding per- 
petually through Longbourn-house. Elizabeth tried to 
be diverted by them ; but all sense of pleasure was lost 
in shame. She felt anew the justice of Mr. Darcy's objec- 
tions ; and never had she before been so much disposed 
to pardon his interference in the views of his friend. 


( 230 ) 

But the gloom of Lydia's prospect was shortly cleared 
away ; for she received an invitation from Mrs. Forster, 
the wife of the Colonel of the regiment, to accompany her 
to Brighton. This invaluable friend was a very young 
woman, and very lately married. A resemblance in good 
humour and good spirits had recommended her and Lydia 
to each other, and out of their three months' acquaintance 
they had been intimate two. 

The rapture of Lydia on this occasion, her adoration of 
Mrs. Forster, the delight of Mrs. Bennet, and the mortifica- 
tion of Kitty, are scarcely to be described. Wholly inatten- 
tive to her sister's feelings, Lydia flew about the house in 
restless ecstacy, calling for every one's congratulations, and 
laughing and talking with more violence than ever ; whilst 
the luckless Kitty continued in the parlour repining at her 
fate in terms as unreasonable as her accent was peevish. 

" I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask me as 
well as Lydia," said she, " though I am not her particular 
friend. I have just as much right to be asked as she has, 
and more too, for I am two years older." 

In vain did Elizabeth attempt to make her reasonable, 
and Jane to make her resigned. As for Elizabeth herself, 
this invitation was so far from exciting in her the same 
feelings as in her mother and Lydia, that she considered 
it as the death-warrant of all possibility of common sense 
for the latter ; and detestable as such a step must make 
her were it known, she could not help secretly advising 
her father not to let her go. She represented to him all 
the improprieties of Lydia's general behaviour, the little 
advantage she could derive from the friendship of such 
a woman as Mrs. Forster, and the probability of her being 
yet more imprudent with such a companion at Brighton, 
where the temptations must be greater than at home. 
He heard her attentively, and then said, 
i V 'y^ydia^-wiU never be easy till she has exposedJieiselL_ 
%j^-\r^ in some public place or other, and we can ri^^cr exp ect h er 
H"^^ to do it with so little expense or inconvenieneS^fco.. Ber 

family as under the present circumstances." 


( 231 ) 

" If you were aware," said Elizabeth, " of the very great 
disadvantage to us all, which must arise from the public 
notice of Lydia's unguarded and imprudent manner ; nay, 
which has already arisen from it, I am sure you would 
judge differently in the affair." 

" Already arisen ! " repeated Mr. Bennet. " What, has 
she frightened away some ' of your lovers ? Poor little 
Lizzy ! But do not be cast down. Such squeamish youths 
as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity, 
are not worth a regret. Come, let me see the list of the 
pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia's folly." 

" Indeed you are mistaken. I have no such injuries 
to resent. It is not of peculiar, but of general evils, 
which I am now complaining. Our importance, our 
respectability in the world, must be affected by the wild 
volatility, the assurance and disdain of all restraint which 
mark Lydia's character. Excuse me — for I must speak 
plainly. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble 
of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that 
her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, 
she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her 
character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most 
determined flirt that ever made herself and her family 
ridiculous. A flirt too, in the worst and meanest degree 
of flirtation ; without any attraction beyond youth and 
a tolerable person ; and from the ignorance and emptiness 
of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of 
that universal contempt which her rage for admiration 
will excite. In this danger Kitty is also comprehended. 
She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, 
idle, and absolutely uncontrouled ! Oh ! my dear father, 
can you suppose it possible that they will not be censured 
and despised wherever they are known, and that their 
sisters will not be often involved in the disgrace ? " 

Mr. Bennet saw that her whole heart was in the subject ; 
and affectionately taking her hand, said in reply, 

" Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever 
you and Jane are known, you must be respected and 

valued ; 

( 332 ) jU 

valued ; and you will not appear to less advantage for 
having a couple of — or I may say, three very silly sisters. 
We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not 
go to Brighton. Let her go then. Colonel Forster is 
a sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief ; 
and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to 
any body. At Brighton she will be of less importance even 
as a common flirt than she has been here. The officers 
will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, 
therefore, that her being there may teach her her own 
insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees 
worse, without authorizing us to lock her up for the rest 
of her life." 

With this answer Elizabeth was forced to be content ; 
but her own opinion continued the same, and she left 
him disappointed and sorry. It was not in her nature, 
however, to increase her vexations, by dwelling on them. 
She was confident of having performed her duty, and to 
fret over unavoidable evils, or augment them by anxiety, 
was no part of her disposition. 

Had Lydia and her mother known the substance of her 
conference with her father, their indignation would hardly 
have found expression in their united volubility. In 
Lydia's imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every 
possibility of earthly happiness. She saw with the creative 
eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing place covered 
with officers. She saw herself the object of attention, to 
tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw 
all the glories of the camp ; its tents stretched forth in 
beauteous uniformity of lines, crowded with the young 
and the gay, and dazzling with scarlet ; and to complete 
the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly 
flirting with at least six officers at once. 

Had she known that her sister sought to tear her from 
such prospects and such realities as these, what would 
have been her sensations ? They could have been under- 
stood only by her mother, who might have felt nearly 
the same. Lydia's going to Brighton was all that con- 

( 233 ) 

^■soled her for the melancholy conviction of her husband's 

^■never intending to go there himself. 

^P But they were entirely ignorant of what had passed ; 

^" and their raptures continued with little intermission to the 
very day of Lydia's leaving home. 

Elizabeth was now. to i!;€C Mr. . Wickham for the last 
time. Having been frequently in company with him since. 
her return, agitation was pretty well over ; the agitations 
of former partiality entirely so. She had even learnt to 
detect, in the very gentleness which had first delighted 
her, an affectation and a sameness to disgust and weary. 
In his present behaviour to herself, moreover, she had 
a fresh source of displeasure, for the inclination he soon 
testified of renewing those attentions which had marked 
the early part of their acquaintance, could only serve, 
after what had since passed, to provoke her. She lost 
all concern for him in finding herself thus selected as the 
object of such idle and frivolous gallantry ; and while she 
steadily repressed it, could not but feel the reproof con- 
tained in his believing, that however long, and for whatever 
cause, his attentions had been withdrawn, her vanity 
would be gratified and her preference secured at any time 
by their renewal. 

On the very last day of the regiment's remaining in 
Meryton, he dined with others of the officers at Longbourn ; 
and so little was Elizabeth disposed to part from him 
in good humour, that on his making some enquiry as to 
the manner in which her time had passed at Hunsford, 
she mentioned Colonel Fitzwilliam's and Mr. Darcy's 
having both spent three weeks at Rosings, and asked 
him if he were acquainted with the former. 

He looked surprised, displeased, alarmed ; but with 
a moment's recollection and a returning smile, replied, 
that he had formerly seen him often ; and after observing 
that he was a very gentlemanlike man, asked her how she 
had liked him. Her answer was warmly in his favour. 
With an air of indifference he soon afterwards added, 
" How long did you say that he was at Rosings ? " 


( 234 ) 

" Nearly three weeks." 

" And you saw him frequently ? " 

" Yes, almost every day." 

" His manners are very different from his cousin's." 

" Yes, very different. But I think Mr. Tlarfj- imprnvps 
on ac*t5t««ifttftttee;" 

*'*'^ Indeed ! " cried Wickham with a look which did not 
escape her. " And pray may I ask ? " but checking him- 
self, he added in a gayer tone, "Is it in address that he 
improves ? Has he deigned to add ought of civility to 
his ordinary style ? for I dare not hope," he continued 
in a lower and more serious tone, " that he is improved 
in essentials." 

" Oh, no ! " said Elizabeth. " In essentials, I believe, 
he is very much what he ever was." 

While she spoke, Wickham looked as if scarcely knowing 
whether to rejoice over her words, or to distrust their 
meaning. There was a something in her countenance 
which made him listen with an apprehensive and anxious 
attention, while she added, 

" When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did 
not mean that either his mind or manners were in a state 
of improvement, but that from knowing him better, his 
disposition was better understood." 

Wickham's alarm now appeared in a heightened com- 
plexion and agitated look ; for a few minutes he was 
silent ; till, shaking off his embarrassment, he turned to 
her again, and said in the gentlest of accents, 

" You, who so well know my feelings towards Mr. Darcy, 
will readily comprehend how sincerely I must rejoice that 
he is wise enough to assume even the appearance of what 
is right. His pride, in that direction, may be of service, 
if not to himself, to many others, for it must deter him 
from such foul misconduct as I have suffered by. I only 
fear that the sort of cautiousness, to which you, I imagine, 
have been alluding, is merely adopted on his visits to his 
aunt, of whose good opinion and judgment he stands 
much in awe. His fear of her, has always operated, 



I know, when they were together ; and a good deal is to 
be imputed to his wish of forwarding the match with 
Miss De Bourgh, which I am certain he has very much 
at heart." 

EHzabeth could not repress a smile at this, but she 
answered only by a slight inclination of the head. She 
saw that he wanted to engage her on the old subject of 
his grievances, and she was in no humour to indulge 
him. The rest of the evening passed with the appearance, 
on his side, of usual cheerfulness, but with no farther 
attempt to distinguish Elizabeth ; and they parted at last 
with mutual civility, and possibly a mutual desire of never 
meeting again. 

When the party broke up, Lydia returned with Mrs. 
Forster to Meryton, from whence they were to set out 
early the next morning. The separation between her and 
her family was rather noisy than pathetic. Kitty was the 
only one who shed tears ; but she did weep from vexation 
and envy. Mrs. Bennet was diffuse in her good wishes 
for the felicity of her daughter, and impressive in her 
injunctions that she would not miss the opportunity of 
enjoying herself as much as possible ; advice, which there 
was' every reason to believe would be attended to ; and 
in the clamorous happiness of Lydia herself in bidding 
farewell, the more gentle adieus of her sisters were uttered 
without being heard. 


( ^36 ) 


Had Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn from her own 
family, she could not have formed a very pleasing picture 
of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort. Her father 
captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance 
of good humour, which youth and beauty generally give, 
had married a woman whose weak understanding and 
illiberal mind, had very early in their marriage put an 
end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and 
confidence, had vanished for ever ; and all his views of 
domestic happiness were overthrown. Rnt Mr, Rprjnpt 
was notj^f-ag jisposition to seek comfort for th edisappoint- 
me nt which his own imprudence ha(0 3Ixaifij rr"onrm^ ny 
o T those pleasures which too often console t he un fortun ate 

f or their folly or their ^ce He was fond of tn"e^ country 

and of books ; and from these tastes had arisen his 
principal enjoyments. To his wife he was very little 
otherwise indebted, than as her ignorance and folly had 
contributed to his amusement. This is not the sort of 
happiness which a man would in general wish to owe 
to his wife ; but where other powers of entertainment 
are wanting, the true philosopher will derive benefit from 
such as are given. 

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the im- 
propriety of her father's behaviour as a husband. She 
had always seen it with pain ; but respecting his abilities, 
and grateful for his affectionate treatment of herself, she 
endeavoured to forget what she could not overlook, and 
to banish from her thoughts that continual breach of 
conjugal obligation and decorum which, in exposing his 
wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly 
reprehensible. But she had never felt so strongly as now, 
the disadvantages which must attend the children of so 
unsuitable a marriage, nor ever been so fully aware of the 


( ^37 ) 

evils arising from so ill-judged a direction of talents ; 
talents which rightly used, might at least have preserved 
the respectability of his daughters, even if incapable of 
enlarging the mind of his wife. 

When Elizabeth had rejoiced over Wickham's departure, 
she found little other cause for satisfaction in the loss of 
the regiment. Their parties abroad were less varied than 
before ; and at home she had a mother and sister whose 
constant repinings at the dulness of every thing around 
them, threw a real gloom over their domestic circle ; 
and, though Kitty might in time regain her natural degree 
of sense, since the disturbers of her brain were removed, 
her other sister, from whose disposition greater evil might 
be apprehended, was likely to be hardened in all her folly 
and assurance, by a situation of such double danger as 
a watering place and a camp. Upon the whole, therefore, 
she found, what has been sometimes found before, that 
an event to which she had looked forward with impatient 
desire, did not in taking place, bring all the satisfaction 
she had promised herself. It was consequently necessary 
to name some other period for the commencement of 
actual felicity ; to have some other point on which her 
wishes and hopes might be fixed, and by again enjoying 
the pleasure of anticipation, console herself for the present, 
and prepare for another disappointment. Her tour to 
the Lakes was now the object of her happiest thoughts ; 
it was her best consolation for all the uncomfortable 
hours, which the discontentedness of her mother and 
Kitty made inevitable ; and could she have included 
Jane in the scheme, every part of it would have been 

" But it is fortunate," thought she, " that I have some- 
thing to wish for. Were the whole arrangement complete, 
my disappointment would be certain. But here, by 
carrying with me one ceaseless source of regret in my 
sister's absence, I may reasonably hope to have all my 
expectations of pleasure realized. A scheme of which 
every part pronuses delight, can never be successful ; and 


( 238 ) f 

general disappointment is only warded off by the defence 
of some little peculiar vexation." 

When Lydia went away, she promised to write very 
often and very minutely to her mother and Kitty ; but 
her letters were always long expected, and always very 
short. Those to her mother, contained little else, than 
that they were just returned from the library, where 
such and such officers had attended them, and where she 
had seen such beautiful ornaments as made her quite 
wild ; that she had a new gown, or a new parasol, which 
she would have described more fully, but was obliged 
to leave off in a violent hurry, as Mrs. Forster called her, 
and they were going to the camp ; — and from her corre- 
spondence with her sister, there was still less to be learnt — 
for her letters to Kitty, though rather longer, were much 
too full of lines under the words to be made public. 

After the first fortnight or three weeks of her absence, 
health, good humour and cheerfulness began to re-appear 
at Longbourn. Everything wore a happier aspect. The 
families who had been in town for the winter came back 
again, and summer finery and summer engagements arose. 
Mrs. Bennet was restored to her usual querulous serenity, 
and by the middle of June Kitty was so much recovered 
as to be able to enter Meryton without tears ; an event 
of such happy promise as to make Elizabeth hope, that 
by the following Christmas, she might be so tolerably 
reasonable as not to mention an officer above once a day, 
unless by some cruel and malicious arrangement at the 
war-office, another regiment should be quartered in 

The time fixed for the beginning of their Northern tour 
was now fast approaching ; and a fortnight only was 
wanting of it, when a letter arrived from Mrs. Gardiner, 
which at once delayed its commencement and curtailed 
its extent. Mr. Gardiner would be prevented by business 
from setting out till a fortnight later in July, and must 
be in London again within a month ; and as that left 
too short a period for them to go so far, and see so much 


( 239 ) 

as they had proposed, or at least to see it with the leisure 
and comfort they had built on, they were obliged to give 
up the Lakes, and substitute a more contracted tour ; and, 
according to the present plan, were to go no farther 
northward than Derbyshire . In that county, there was 
enough to be seen, to occupy the chief of their three weeks ; 
and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a peculiarly strong attraction. 
The town where she had formerly passed some years of 
her life, and where they were now to spend a few days, 
was probably as great an object of her curiosity, as all 
the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, 
or the Peak. 

Elizabeth was excessively disappointed ; she had set 
her heart on seeing the Lakes ; and still thought there 
might have been time enough. But it was her business 
to be satisfied — and certainly her temper to be happy ; 
and all was soon right again. 

With the mention of Derbyshire, there were many ideas 
connected. It was impossible for her to see the word 
without thinking of Pemberley and its owner. " But 
surely," said she, " I may enter his county with impunity, 
and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving 

The period of expectation was now doubled. Four 
weeks were to pass away before her uncle and aunt's 
arrival. But they did pass away, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardiner, with their four children, did at length appear 
at Longbourn. The children, two girls of six ^nd eight 
years old, and two younger boys, were to be left under 
the particular care of their cousin Jane, who was the 
general favourite, and w hose, steady sense an d sweetness 
o|,,.t£ra]ger_exactly adapted her for attending to fEein'in 
every way — teaching them, playing with them, and loving 

The Gardiners staid only one night at Longbourn, and set 
off the next morning with Elizabeth in pursuit of novelty 
and amusement. One enjoyment was certain — that of 
suitableness as companions ; a suitableness which com- 

( 240 ) 

prehended health and temper to bear inconveniences — 
cheerfulness to enhance every pleasure — and affection and 
intelligence, which might supply it among themselves if 
there were disappointments abroad. 

It is not the object of this work to give a description 
of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remarkable places through 
which their route thither lay ; Oxford, Blenheim, War- 
wick, Kenelworth, Birmingham, &c. are sufficiently known. 
A small part of Derbyshire is all the present concern. 
To the little town of Lambton, the scene of Mrs. Gardiner's 
former residence, and where she had lately learned that 
some acquaintance still remained, they bent their steps, 
after having seen all the principal wonders of the country ; 
and within five miles of Lambton, Elizabeth found from 
her aunt, that Pemberley was situated. It was not in 
their direct road, nor more than a mile or two out of it. 
In talking over their route the evening before, Mrs. 
Gardiner expressed an inclination to see the place again. 
Mr. Gardiner declared his willingness, and Elizabeth was 
applied to for her approbation. 

" My love, should not you like to see a place of which 
you have heard so much ? " said her aunt. " A place too, 
with which so many of your acquaintance are connected. 
Wickham passed all his youth there, you know.'' 

Elizabeth was distressed. She felt that she had no 
business at Pemberley, and was obliged to assume a dis- 
inclination for seeing it. She must own that she was tired 
of great houses ; after going over so many, she really had 
no pleasure in fine carpets or satin curtains. 

Mrs. Gardiner abused her stupidity. " If it were merely 
a fine house richly furnished," said she, " I should not 
care about it myself ; but the grounds are delightful. 
They have some of the finest woods in the country." 

Elizabeth said no more — but her mind could not 
acquiesce. The possibility of meeting Mr. Darcy, while 
viewing the place, instantly occurred. It would be 
dreadful ! She blushed at the very idea ; and thought 
it would be better to speak openly to her aunt, than to 


( 241 ) 


^Band she finally resolved that it could be the last resource, 
^■if her private enquiries as to the absence of the family, 
^» were unfavourably answered. 

Accordingly, when she retired at night, she asked the 
chambermaid whether Pemberley were not a very fine 
place, what was the name of its proprietor, and with no 
little alarm, whether the family were down for the summer. 
A most welcome negative followed the last question — 
and her alarms being now removed, she was at leisure to 
feel a great deal of curiosity to see the house herself ; 
and when the subject was revived the next morning, and 
she was again applied to, could readily answer, and with 
a proper air of indifference, that she had not really any 
dislike to the scheme. 

To Pember le y. therefoje , they were to go. 


P. F. 













( 245 ) 



Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first 
appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation ; 
and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her 
spirits were in a high flutter. 

The park was very large, and contained great variety 
of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, 
and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, 
stretching over a wide extent. 

EHzabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she 
saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of 
view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then 
found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, 
where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught 
by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of 
a v-alley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. 
It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on 
rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills ; — 
and in front, a stream of some natural importance was 
swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. 
Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Eliza- 
beth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which 
nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been 
so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were 
all of them warm in their admiration ; and at that moment 
she felt, that to be mistress of Pemberley might be some- 
thing ! 

They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove 
to the door ; and, while examining the nearer aspect of 
the house, all her apprehensions of meeting its owner 
returned. She dreaded lest the chambermaid had been 


( 246 ) 

mistaken. On applying to see the place, they were 
admitted into the hall ; and Elizabeth, as they waited 
for the housekeeper, had leisure to wonder at her being 
where she was. 

The housekeeper came ; a respectable-looking, elderly 
woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any 
notion of finding her. They followed her into the dining- 
parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, hand- 
somely fitted up. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, 
went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned 
with wood, from which they had descended, receiving 
increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful 
object. Every disposition of the ground was good ; and 
she looked on the whole scene, the river, the trees scattered 
on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she 
could trace it, with delight. As they passed into other 
rooms, these objects were taking different positions ; but 
from every window there were beauties to be seen. The 
rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture 
suitable to the fortune of their proprietor ; but Elizabeth 
saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither 
gaudy nor uselessly fine ; with less of splendor, and more 
real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings. 

" And nfth^a ,plaag," tbniiffht ri^p^ " Tmi^ht have been 
mistress 1 With t hese rooms I might iiowTrnveoeen 
familiarly acquainted] Instead of viewing them as a 
stfariger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own,, and 
welcomed to them as visitors my unele and aunt. — But 
no7' — recollecting herself, — " that could never be : my 
uncle and aunt would have been lost to me ; I should 
not have been allowed to invite them." 

This was a lucky recollection — it saved her from some- 
thing like regret. 

She longed to enquire of the housekeeper, whether her 
master were really absent, but had not courage for it. 
At length, however, the question was asked by her uncle ; 
and she turned away with alarm, while Mrs. Reynolds 
replied, that he was, adding, " but we expect him to- 

( 247 ) 

"morrow, with a large party of friends." How rejoiced 
was Elizabeth that their own journey had not by any 
circumstance been delayed a day ! 

Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. She 
approached, and saw the likeness of Mr. Wickham sus- 
pended, amongst several other miniatures, over the mantle- 
piece. Her aunt asked her, smilingly, how she liked it. 
The housekeeper came forward, and told them it was the 
picture of a young gentleman, the son of her late master's 
steward, who had been brought up by him at his own 
expence. — " He is now gone into the army," she added, 
" but I am afraid he has turned out very wild." 

Mrs. Gardiner looked at her niece with a smile, but 
Elizabeth could not return it. 

" And that," said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another 
of the miniatures, " is my master — and very like him. 
It was drawn at the same time as the other — about eight 
years ago." 

" I have heard much of your master's fine person," 
said Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture ; " it is a hand- 
some face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like 
or not." 

Mrs. Reynolds's respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase 
on this intimation of her knowing her master. 

" Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy ? " 

Elizabeth coloured, and said — " A little." 

" And do not you think him a very handsome gentle- 
man, Ma'am ? " 

" Yes, very handsome." 

" I am sure / know none so handsome ; but in the 
gallery up stairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him 
than this. This room was my late master's favourite 
room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be 
then. He was very fond of them." 

This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's being 
among them. 

Mrs. Reynolds then directed their attention to one of 
Miss Darcy, drawn when she was only eight years old. 


.* ( 248 ) 

" And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother ? " 
said Mr. Gardiner. 

" Ch ! yes — the handsomest young lady that ever was 
seen ; and so accomplished ! — She plays and sings all day 
long. In the next room is a new instrument just come 
down for her — a present from my master ; she comes here 
to-morrow with him." 

Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were easy and pleasant, 
encouraged her communicativeness by his questions and 
remarks ; Mrs. Reynolds, either from pride or attach- 
ment, had evidently great pleasure in talking of her 
master and his sister. 

" Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of 
the year ? " 

" Not so much as I could wish. Sir ; but I dare say he 
may spend half his time here ; and Miss Darcy is always 
down for the summer months." 

" Except," thought Elizabeth, " when she goes to 

" If your master would marry, you might see more of 

" Yes, Sir ; but I do not know when that will be. I do 
not k now-iyho , is good enough for him." 

[rTand Mrs. Gardiner^s^SflMr* Elizabeth could not 
help saying, " It is very much to his credit, I am sure, that 
you should think so." 

" I say no more than the truth, and what every body 
will say that knows him," replied the other. Elizabeth 
thought this was going pretty far ; and she listened with 
increasing astonishment as the housekeeper added, 
" I-JiaKe—4ieverhad..«a.. cross wmvll^jTVTjjf hin) in i^y 
life»„and I h ave known him ever smce he wa^Jour years 
old,"... ■■""' '""^ "^ '*''"' ^ 

Thi§._ffia&4^traise, of all others most extraordin ary, mos t 
opposite to her ideas. That he was not a good-tempered 
man, had been her firmest opinion. Her kcenesQOEJ^gtion 
was awakened ; she longed to hear more, and was grateful 
to her uncle for saying, 

" There 

( 249 ) 

" There are very few people of whom so much can be 

dd. You are lucky in having such a master." 

" Yes, Sir, I know I am. If I was to go through the — -- 
world, I could not meet with a iJetter. But I have always ^ 
observed, that they who are good-natured when children, 
are good-natiired when they grow up ; and he was always 
the sweetest- tempered, most' generous-hearted, bo y i n' tire 

Ehzabeth almost stared at her. — " Can this be Mr. 
Darcy ! " thought she. ~~*~ —- — —— 

" His father was an excellent man," said Mrs. Gardiner. 

" Yes, Ma'am, that he was indeed ; and his son will be 
just like him — just as affable to the poor." 

Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was im- 
patient for more. Mrs. Reynolds could interest her on no 
other point. She related the subject of the pictures, the 
dimensions of the rooms, and the price of the furniture, 
in vain. Mr. Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of 
family prejudice, to which he attributed her excessive 
commendation of her master, soon led again to the subject ; 
and she dwelt with energy on his many merits, as they 
proceeded together up the great staircase. 

"'He is the best landlord, and the best rnaster," said 
she, " that c\xr lived. Not like the wild young men 
now-a-days, who think of nothing but themselves. There 
is not one of his tenants or servants but what will give 
him a ggod^iianae. Some people call him proud ; but kj ft 
t am sure I never saw any thing of it. To my fancy, it is 
only because he does not rattle away like other young 

" In what an amiable light does this place him ! " 

" This fine account of him," whispered her aunt, as they 
walked, " is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our 
poor friend." 

" Perhaps we might be deceived." 

" That is not very likely ; our authority was too good." 

On reaching the spacious lobby above, they were shewn 


( 250 ) 

into a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up with 
greater elegance and lightness than the apartments below ; 
and were informed that it was but just done, to give 
pleasure to Miss Darcy, who had taken a liking to the room, 
when last at Pemberley. 

" He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as 
she walked towards one of the windows. 

Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight, when 
she should enter the room. " And this is always the way 
with him," she added. — " "V^hatever can give h is si ster^ 
any pleasure, is sure to be done m a moment! Therejs^ 
nothing he would not do for her." 

"The picture gallery, and two or three of the principal 
bed-rooms, were all that remained to be shewn. In the 
former were many good paintings ; but Elizabeth knew 
nothing of the art ; and from such as had been already 
visible below, she had willingly turned to look at some 
drawings of Miss Darcy's, in crayons, whose subjects were 
usually more interesting, and also more intelligible. 

In the gallery there were many family portraits, but 
they could have little to fix the attention of a stranger. 
Elizabeth walked on in quest of the only face who^e 
features would be known to her. At last it arrested her — 
and she beheld a striking resemblance of Mr. Darcy, with 
such a smile over the face, as she remembered to have 
sometimes seen, when he looked at her. She stood several 
minutes before the picture in earnest contemplation, and 
returned to it again before they quitted the gallery. 
Mrs. Reynolds informed them, that it had been taken in 
his father's life time. 

There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's 
mind, a more gentle sensation towards the original, than 
she had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance. 
The commendation bestowed on him by Mrs. Reynolds 
was of no trifling nature. What praise is more-,3;:aluaidp 
than tha-praise of an intelligent servant ? As ^ broth fi^j 
a jandloidy-A-"«iaster, she considered how many ..people's 

happiness „were in his guardianship !— How much of 


( 251 ) 

^pleasure or pain it was in his power to be&t»w ! — How 
nit ich of goQ d ' tor evil must be done b}^ him ! Every idea 
that had been brought forward by the housekeeper was 
favourable to his character, and as she stood before the 
canvas, on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes 
upon herself, she thought of his regard with a deeper 
sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before ; 
she remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety 
of expression. 

When all of the house that was open to general inspec- 
tion had been seen, they returned down stairs, and taking 
leave of the housekeeper, were consigned over to the 
gardener, who met them at the hall door. 

As they walked across the lawn towards the river, 
Elizabeth turned back to look again ; her uncle and aunt 
stopped also, and while the former was conjecturing as 
to the date of the building, the owner of it himself suddenly 
came forward from the road, which led behind it to the 

They were within twenty yards of each other, and so 
abrupt was his appearance, that it was impossible to avoid 
his sight. Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of 
each were overspread with the deepest blush. He abso- 
lutely started, and for a moment seemed immoveable from 
surprise ; but shortly recovering himself, advanced towards 
the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, if not in terms of perfect 
composure, at least of perfect civility. 

She had instinctively turned away ; but, stopping on 
his approach, received his compliments with an embar- 
rassment impossible to be overcome. Had his first 
appearance, or his resemblance to the picture they had 
just been examining, been insufficient to assure the other 
two that they now saw Mr. Darcy, the gardener's expres- 
sion of surprise, on beholding his master, must immediately 
have told it. They stood a little aloof while he was talking 
to their niece, who, astonished and confused, scarcely 
dared lift her eyes to his face, and knew not what answer 
she returned to his civil enquiries after her family. Amazed 


( 252 ) 

at the alteration in his manner since they last parted, 
every sentence that he uttered was increasing her embar- 
rassment ; and every idea of the impropriety of her being 
found there, recurring to her mind, the few minutes in 
which they continued together, were some of the most 
uncomfortable of her life. Nor did he seem much more 
at ease ; when he spoke, his accent had none of its usual 
sedateness ; and he repeated his enquiries as to the time 
of her having left Longbourn, and of her stay in Derby- 
shire, so often, and in so hurried a way, as plainly spoke 
the distraction of his thoughts. 

At length, every idea seemed to fail him ; and, after 
standing a few moments without saying a word, he sud- 
denly recollected himself, and took leave. 

The others then joined her, and expressed their admira- 
tion of his figure ; but Elizabeth heard not a word, and, 
wholly engrossed by her own feelings, followed them in 
silence. She was overpowered by shame and vexation. 
Her coming there was the most unfortunate, the most 
ill-judged thing in the world ! How strange must it 
appear to him ! In what a disgraceful light might it not 
strike so vain a man ! It might seem as if she had purposely 
thrown herself in his way again ! Oh ! why did she 
come ? or, why did he thus come a day before he was 
expected ? Had they been only ten minutes sooner, they 
should have been beyond the reach of his discrimination, 
for it was plain that he was that moment arrived, that 
moment alighted from his horse or his carriage. She 
blushed again and again over the perverseness of the 
meeting. And his behaviour, so strikingly altered, — 
what could it mean ? That he should even speak to her 
was amazing ! — but to speak with such civility, to enquire 
after her family ! Never in her life had she seen his 
manners so little dignified, never had he spoken with such 
gentleness as on this unexpected meeting. What a contrast 
did it offer to his last address in Rosing's Park, when he 
put his letter into her hand ! She knew not what to think, 
nor how to account for it. 


( 253 )^ 

They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of 
the water, and every step was bringing forward a nobler 
fall of ground, or a finer reach of the woods to which they 
were approaching ; but it was some time before Elizabeth 
was sensible of any of it ; and, though she answered 
mechanically to the repeated appeals of her uncle and 
aunt, and seemed to direct her eyes to such objects as 
they pointed out, she distinguished no part of the scene. 
Her thoughts were all fixed on that one spot of Pemberley 
House, whichever it might be, where Mr. Darcy then was. 
She longed to know what at that moment was passing 
in his mind ; in what manner he thought of her, and 
whether, in defiance of every thing, she was still dear to 
him. Perhaps he had been civil, only because he felt 
himself at ease ; yet there had been that in his voice, 
which was not like ease. Whether he had felt more of 
pain or of pleasure in seeing her, she could not tell, but he 
certainly had not seen her with composure. 

At length, however, the remarks of her companions on 
her absence of mind roused her, and she felt the necessity 
of appearing more like herself. 

They entered the woods, and bidding adieu to the river 
for a while, ascended some of the higher grounds ; whence, 
in spots where the opening of the trees gave the eye power 
to wander, were many charming views of the valley, the 
opposite hills, with the long range of woods overspreading 
many, and occasionally part of the stream. Mr. Gardiner 
expressed a wish of going round the whole Park, but 
feared it might be beyond a walk. With a triumphant 
smile, they were told, that it was ten miles round. It 
settled the matter ; and they pursued the accustomed 
circuit ; which brought them again, after some time, in 
a descent among hanging woods, to the edge of the water, 
in one of its narrowest parts. They crossed it by a simple 
bridge, in character with the general air of the scene ; 
it was a spot less adorned than any they had yet visited ; 
and the valley, here contracted into a glen, allowed room 
only for the stream, and a narrow walk amidst the rough 


( 254 ) 

coppice-wood which bordered it. Elizabeth longed to 
explore its windings ; but when they had crossed the 
bridge, and perceived their distance from the house, 
Mrs. Gardiner, who was not a great walker, could go no 
farther, and thought only of returning to the carriage as 
quickly as possible. Her niece was, therefore, obliged to 
submit, and they took their way towards the house on 
the opposite side of the river, in the nearest direction ; 
ly-^^but their progress was slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though 
jseldom able to indulge the taste, was very fond of fishing, 
and was so much engaged in watching the occasional 
appearance of some trout in the water, and talking to 
the man about them, that he advanced but little. Whilst 
wandering on in this slow manner, they were again sur- 
prised, and Elizabeth's astonishment was quite equal to 
what it had been at first, by_the.^i gh t^^ jlr. Darc^^p- 
proaching them, .and .at. no great distance. The walk 
being here less sheltered than on the other side, allowed 
them to see him before they met. Elizabeth, however 
astonished, was at least more prepared for an interview 
than before, and resolved to appear and to speak with 
calmness, if he really intended to meet them. For a few 
moments, indeed, she felt that he would probably strike 
into some other path. This idea lasted while a turning 
in the walk concealed him from their view ; the turning 
past, he was immediately before them. With a glance 
she saw, that he had lost none of his recent civility ; and, 
to imitate his politeness, she began, as they met, to admire 
the beauty of the place ; but she had not got beyond the 
words "delightful," and " charming," when some un- 
lucky recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise 
of Pemberley from her, might be mischievously construed. 
Her colour changed, and she said no more. 

Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind ; and on 
her pausing, he asked her, if she would do him the honour 
of introducing him to her friends. This was a stroke of 
civility for which she was quite unprepared ; and she 
could hardly suppress a smile, at his being now seeking 


( 255 ) 

the acquaintance of some of those very people, against 
whom his pride had revolted, in his offer to herself. " What 
will be his surprise," thought she, " when he knows who 
they are ! He takes them now for people of fashion." 

The introduction, however, was immediately made ; 
and as she named their relationship to herself, she stole 
a sly looE^t him, to see how he bore it ; and was not 
without the expectation of his decamping as fast as he 
could from such disgraceful companions. That he was 
surprised by the connexion was evident ; he sustained it 
however with fortitude, and so far from going away, 
turned back with them, and entered into conversation 
with Mr. Gardiner. Elizabeth could not but be pleased, 
could not but triumph. It was consoling, that he should 
know she had some relations for whom there was no need 
to blush. She listened 'most attentively to all that passed 
between them, and gloried in every expression, every 
sentence of her uncle, which marked his intelligence, his 
taste, or his good manners. 

The conversation soon turned upon fishing, and she 
heard Mj;;^ Darcy invite him, with tlje^^eatest civility^ to 
fi^h there as often as he chose, while he continued in the 
neighbourhood, offering at the same time to supply him 
with fishing tackle, and pointing out those parts of the 
stream where there was usually most sport. Mrs. Gardiner, 
who was walking arm in arm with Elizabeth, gave her 
a look expressive of her wonder. Elizabeth said nothing, 
but it gratified her exceedingly ; the compliment must 
be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, was 
extreme ; and continually was she repeating, " Why is 
he so altered ? From what can it proceed ? It cannot 
be for me, it cannot be for my sake that his manners are 
thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work 
such a change as this. It is impossible that he should 
still love me." 

After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in 
front, the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places, 
after descending to the brink of the river for the better 


( 256 ) 

inspection of some curious water-plant, there chanced to 
be a little alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, 
fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's 
arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred 
her husband's. Mr. Darcy took her place by her niece, and 
they walked on together. After a short silence, the lady 
first spoke. She wished him to know that she had been 
assured of his absence before she came to the place, and 
accordingly began by observing, that his arrival had been 
very unexpected — " for your housekeeper," she added, 
" informed us that you would certainly not be here till 
to-morrow ; and indeed, before we left Bakewell, we under- 
stood that you were not immediately expected in the 
country." He acknowledged the truth of it all ; and said 
that business with his steward had occasioned his coming 
forward a few hours before the rest of the party with 
whom he had been travelling. " They will join me early 
to-morrow," he continued, '' and among them are some 
who will claim an acquaintance with you, — Mr. Bingley 
and his sisters." 

Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts 
were instantly driven back to the time when Mr. Bingley's 
name had been last mentioned between them ; and if she 
might judge from his complexion, his mind was not very 
differently engaged. 

" There is also one other person in the party," he con- 
tinued after a pause, " who more particularly wishes to 
be known to you, — Will you allow me, or do I ask too 
much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during 
your stay at Lambton ? " 

The surprise of such an application was great indeed ; 
it was too great for her to know in what manner she 
acceded to it. She immediately felt that whatever desire 
Miss Darcy might have of being acquainted with her, 
must be the work of her brother, and without looking 
farther, it was satisfactory ; it was gratifying to know that 
his resentment had not made him think really ill of her. 

They now walked on in silence ; each of them deep in 


( 257 ) 

thought. Elizabeth was not comfortable ; that was 
impossible ; but she was flattered and pleased. His wish 
of introducing his sister to her, was a compliment of the 
highest kind. They soon outstripped the others, and 
when they had reached the carriage, Mr. and Mrs, Gardiner 
were half a quarter of a mile .behind. 

He then asked her to walk into the house — but she 
declared herself not tired, and they stood together on the 
lawn. At such a time, much might have been said, and 
silence was very awkward. She wanted to talk, but 
there seemed an embargo on every subject. At last she 
recollected that she had been travelling, and they talked 
of Matlock and Dove Dale with great perseverance. Yet 
time and her aunt moved slowly — and her patience and 
her ideas were nearly worn out before the tete-a-tete was 
over. On Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's coming up, they were 
all pressed to go into the house and take some refresh- 
ment ; but this was declined, and they parted on each 
side with the utmost politeness. Mr. Darcy handed the 
ladies into the carriage, and when it drove off, Elizabeth 
saw him walking slowly towards the house. 

The observations of her uncle and aunt now began ; and 
each of them pronounced him to be infinitely superior to 
any thing they had expected. " H e^ is perfectly well 
behaved, polite, and unassuming," sai3^her uniC!^'^ 

" There is something a little stately in him to be sure," 
replied her aunt, " but it is confined to his air, and is 
not unbecoming. I can now say with the housekeeper, 
that though some people may call him proud, / have seen 
nothing of it." 

*' I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to 
us. It jwa& Joxore than civil ; it was really attentive; and 
there was no necessrtyTor such attenftonT^His^equain- 
tance with EHzabeth was very trifling." 

" To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, " he is not so hand- 
some as Wickham ; or rather he has not Wickham's 
countenance, for his features are perfectly good. But how 
c ame you to tell us t hat he \ya s^§j; tdisagreeable ? " 

( 258 ) 

Elizabeth excused herself as well as she could ; said 
that she had liked him better when they met in Kent than 
before, and that she had never seen him so pleasant as 
this morning. 

" But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his 
civilities," replied her uncle. " Your great men often are; 
and therefore I shall not take him at his word about 
fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and 
warn me off his grounds." 

Elizabeth felt that they had entirely mistaken his 
character, but said nothing. 

" From what we have seen of him," continued Mrs. Gar- 
diner, " I really should not have thought that he could 
have behaved in so cruel a way by any body, as he has 
done by poor Wickham. He has not an ill-natured look. 
On the contrary, there is something pleasing about his 
mouth when he speaks. And there is something of dignity 
in his countenance, that would not give one an unfavour- 
able idea of his heart. But to be sure, the good lady who 
shewed us the house, did give him a most flaming character ! 
I could hardly help laughing aloud sometimes. But he 
is a liberal master, I suppose, and that in the eye of a servant 
comprehends every virtue." 

Elizabeth hera-idlt..lierself aaUed on to say soinething 
in vindication of his behaviour to Wickham ; and there- 
fore gave them to understand, in as guarded a manner 
as she could, that by what she had heard from his relations 
in Kent, his actions were capable of a very different 
construction ; and that his character was by no means 
so faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable, as they had been 
considered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation of this, she 
related the particulars of all the pecuniary transactions 
in which they had been connected, without actually 
naming her authority, but stating it to be such as might 
be relied on. 

Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned ; but as they 
were now approaching the scene of her former pleasures, 
every idea gave way to the charm of recollection ; and 


( 259 ) 

she was too much engaged in pointing out to her husband 
all the interesting spots in its environs, to think of any- 
thing else. Fatigued as she had been by the morning's 
walk, they had no sooner dined than she set off again in 
quest of her former acquaintance, and the evening was 
spent in the satisfactions of an intercourse renewed after 
many years discontinuance. 

The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to 
leave Elizabeth much attention for any of these new 
friends ; and she could do nothing but think, and think 
with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's civility, and above all, of his 
wishing her to be acquainted with his sister. 

s 2 CHAP- 

( 260 ) 


Elizabeth had settled it that Mr. Darcy would bring 
his sister to visit her, the very day after her reaching 
Pemberley ; and was consequently resolved not to be out 
of sight of the inn the whole of that morning. But her 
conclusion was false ; for on the very morning after their 
own arrival at Lambton, these visitors came. They had 
been walking about the place with some of their new 
friends, and were just returned to the inn to dress them- 
selves for dining with the same family, when the sound 
of a carriage drew them to a window, and they saw 
a gentleman and lady in a curricle, driving up the street. 
Elizabeth immediately recognising the livery, guessed 
what it meant, and imparted no small degree of surprise 
to her relations, by acquainting them with the honour 
which she expected. Her uncle and aunt were all amaze- 
ment ; and the embarrassment of her manner as she 
spoke, joined to the circumstance itself, and many of the 
circumstances of the preceding day, opened to them a new 
idea on the business. Nothing had ever suggested it 
before, but they now felt that there was no other way of 
accounting for such attentions from such a quarter, than 
by supposing a partiality for their niece. While these 
newly-born notions were passing in their heads, the per- 
turbation of Elizabeth's feelings was every moment 
increasing. She was quite amazed at her own discom- 
posure ; but amongst other causes of disquiet, she dreaded 
lest the partiality of the brother should have said too 
much in her favour ; and more than commonly anxious 
to please, she naturally suspected that every power of 
pleasing would fail her. 

She retreated from the window, fearful of being seen ; 
and as she walked up and down the room, endeavouring 


( 261 ) 

to compose herself, saw such looks of enquiring surprise 
in her uncle and aunt, as made every thing worse. 

Miss Darcy and her brother appeared, and this formid- 
able introduction took place. With astonishment did 
Elizabeth see, that her new acquaintance was at least 
as much embarrassed as herself. Since her being at 
Lambton, she had heard that Miss Darcy was exceedingly 
proud ; but the observation of a very few minutes con- 
vinced her, that she was only exceedingly shy. She found 
it difficult to obtain even a word from her beyond a mono- 

Miss Darcy was tall, and on a larger scale than Eliza- 
beth ; and, though little more than sixteen, her figure 
was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. 
She was less handsome than her brother, but there was 
sense and good humour in her face, and her manners were 
perfectly unassuming and gentle. Elizabeth, who had 
expected to find in her as acute and unembarrassed an 
observer as ever Mr. Darcy had been, was much relieved 
by discerning such different feelings. 

They had not been long together, before Darcy told her 
that Bingley was also coming to wait on her ; and she 
had barely time to express her satisfaction, and prepare 
for such a visitor, when Bingley's quick step was heard 
on the stairs, and in a moment he entered the room. All 
Elizabeth's anger against him had been long done away ; 
but, had she still felt any, it could hardly have stood its 
ground against the unaffected cordiality with which he 
expressed himself, on seeing her again. He enquired in 
a friendly, though general way, after her family, and looked 
and spoke with the same good-humoured ease that he had 
ever done. 

Xo^Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner he was scar^ly.jL,lcs§ i^ 
ing personage than to herself. They had long wished to 
see him. The whole party before them, indeed, excited 
a lively attention. The suspicions which had just arisen 
of Mr. Darcy and their niece, directed their observation 
towards each with an earnest, though guarded, enquiry ; 


( 262 ) I 

and they soon drew from those enquiries the full conviction 
that one of them at least knew what it was to love. Of 
the lady's sensations they remained a little in doubt ; 
but that the gentleman was overflowing with admiration 
was evident enough. 

EHzabeth, on her side, had much to do. She wanted 
to ascertain the feelings of each of her visitors, she wanted 
to compose her own, and to make herself agreeable to all ; 
and in the latter object, where she feared most to fail, 
she was most sure of success, for those to whom she 
endeavoured to give pleasure were prepossessed in her 
favour. Binglcy was ready, Georgiana was eager, and 
Darcy determined, to be pleased. 

In seeing Bingley, her thoughts naturally flew to her 
sister ; and oh ! how ardently did she long to know, 
whether any of his were directed in a like manner. 
Sometimes she could fancy, that he talked less than on 
former occasions, and once or twice pleased herself with 
the notion that as he looked at her, he was trying to trace 
a resemblance. But, though this might be imaginary, she 
could not be deceived as to his behaviour to Miss Darcy, 
who had been set up as a rival of Jane. No look appeared 
on either side that spoke particular regard. Nothing 
occurred between them that could justify the hopes of 
his sister. On this point she was soon satisfied ; and two 
or three little circumstances occurred ere they parted, 
which, in her anxious interpretation, denoted a recollection 
of Jane, not untinctured by tenderness, and a wish of 
saying more that might lead to the mention of her, had 
he dared. He observed to her, at a moment when the 
others were talking together, and in a tone which had 
something of real regret, that it " was a very long time 
since he had had the pleasure of seeing her ; " and, before 
she could reply, he added, " It is above eight months. 
We have not met since the 26th of November, when wc 
were all dancing together at Netherfield." 

Elizabeth was pleased to find his memory so exact ; 
and he afterwards took occasion to ask her, when un- 

( 263 ) 

attended to by any of the rest, whether all her sisters 
were at Longbourn. There was not much in the question, 
nor in the preceding remark, but there was a look and 
a manner which gave them meaning. 

It was not often that she could turn her eyes on Mr. 
Darcy himself ; but, whenever she did catch a glimpse, 
she saw an expression of general complaisance, and in all 
that he said, she heard an accent so far removed from 
hauteur or disdain of his companions, as. convinced her 
that the improvement of manners which she had yesterday 
witnessed, however temporary its existence might prove, 
had at least outlived one day. When she saw Jbiiift-4feus 
s eeking the acquaintance, and courting, ihe-geed-^pinion 
of people, with whom any intercoursa,.a^Jej5L.jji£iJQth£i.^go 
would have been a disgrace ; when she sa^vhilXl..ti^US. civil, 
not only to herself, but to the very reratiQnsLJLYhQm.Jbie bad 
openly disdained, and recollected their last lively scene 
in Hunsford Parsonage, the difference, the change was 
so^great, and struck so forcibly on her mind, that she 
could hardly restrain her astonishment from being visible. 
Never, even in the company of his dear friends at Nether- 
field, or his dignified relations at Rosings, had she seen 
hirrl so desirous to please, so free from self-consequence, 
or unbending reserve as now, when no importance could 
result from the success of his endeavours, and when even 
the acquaintance of those to whom his attentions were 
addressed, would draw down the ridicule and censure of 
the ladies both of Netherfield and Rosings. 

Their visitors staid with them above half an hour, and 
when they arose to depart, Mr. Darcy called on his sister 
to join him in expressing their wish of seeing Mr. and 
Mrs. Gardiner, and Miss Bennet, to dinner at Pemberley, 
before they left the country. Miss Darcy, though with 
a diffidence which marked her little in the habit of giving 
invitations, readily obeyed. Mrs. Gardiner looked at her 
niece, desirous of knowing how she, whom the invitation 
most concerned, felt disposed as to its acceptance, but 
Elizabeth had turned away her head. Presuming, how- 


( 264 ) Ml 

ever, that this studied avoidance spoke rather a momentary 
embarrassment, than any disHke of the proposal, and 
seeing in her husband, who was fond of society, a perfect 
wiUingness to accept it, she ventured to engage for her 
attendance, and the day after the next was fixed on. 

Bingley expressed great pleasure in the certainty of 
seeing Elizabeth again, having still a great deal to say 
to her, and many enquiries to make after all their Hert- 
fordshire friends. Elizabeth, construing all this into a wish 
of hearing her speak of her sister, was pleased ; and on 
this account, as well as some others, found herself, when 
their visitors left them, capable of considering the last 
half hour with some satisfaction, though while it was 
passing, the enjoyment of it had been little. Eager to 
be alone, and fearful of enquiries or hints from her uncle 
and aunt, she staid with them only long enough to hear 
their favourable opinion of Bingley, and then hurried 
away to dress. 

But she had no reason to fear Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's 
curiosity ; it was not their wish to force her communi- 
cation. It was evident that she was much better ac- 
quainted with Mr. Darcy than they had before any idea 
of ; it was evident that he was very much in love with 
her. They saw much to interest, but nothing to justify 

Of Mr. Darcy it was now a matter of anxiety to think 
well ; and, as far as their acquaintance reached, there was 
no fault to find. They could not be untouched by his 
politeness, and had they drawn his character from their 
own feelings, and his servant's report, without any refer- 
ence to any other account, the circle in Hertfordshire to 
which he was known, would not have recognised it for 
Mr. Darcy. There was now an interest, however, in 
believing the housekeeper ; arid they soon became sensible, 
that the authority of a servant who had known him since 
he was four years old, and whose own manners indicated 
respectability, was not to be hastily rejected. Neither 
had any thing occurred in the intelligence of their Lambton 


( 265 ) 

friends, that could materially lessen its weight. They had 
nothing to accuse him of but pride ; pride he probably 
had, and if not, it would certainly be imputed by the 
inhabitants of a small market-town, where the family 
did not visit. It was acknowledged, however, that he 
was a liberal man, and did much good among the poor. 

With respect to Wickham, the travellers soon found that 
he was not held there in much estimation ; for though 
the chief of his concerns, with the son of his patron, were 
imperfectly understood, it was yet a well known fact that, 
on his quitting Derbyshire, he had left many debts behind 
him, which Mr. Darcy afterwards discharged. 

As for Elizabeth, her thoughts were at Pemberley this 
evening more than the last ; and the evening, though as 
it passed it seemed long, was not long enough to deter- 
mine her feelings towards one in that mansion ; and she 
lay awake two whole hours, endeavouring to make them 
out. She certainly did not hate him. No ; hatred had 
vanished long ago, and she had almost as long been 
ashamed of ever feeling a dislike against him, that could 
be so called. The respect created by the conviction of 
his valuable qualities, though at first unwillingly admitted, 
had tor some time ceased to be repugnant to her feelings ; 
and it was now heightened into somewhat of a friendlier 
nature, by the testimony so highly in his favour, and 
bringing forward his disposition in so amiable a light, 
which yesterday had produced. But above all, above 
respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of 
good will which could not be overlooked. It was grati- 
tude. — Gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, 
but for loving her still well enough, to forgive all the 
petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him, 
and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejection. 
He who, she had been persuaded, would avoid her as his 
greatest enemy, seemed, on this accidental meeting, most 
eager to preserve the acquaintance, and without any in- 
delicate display of regard, or any peculiarity of manner, 
where their two selves only were concerned, was soliciting 


( ^66 ) 

the good opinion of her friends, and bent on making her 
known to his sister. Such a change in a man of so muchj 
pride, excited not only astonishment but gratitude — fori 
to love, ardent love, it must be attributed ; and as such] 
its impression on her was of a sort to be encouraged, as' 
by no means unpleasing, though it could not be exactly 
defined. She respected, she esteemed, she was grateful 
to him, she felt a real interest in his welfare ; and she 
only wanted to know how far she wished that welfare to 
depend upon herself, and how far it would be for the 
happiness of both that she should employ the power, 
which her fancy told her she still possessed, of bringing 
on the renewal of his addresses. 

It had been settled in the evening, between the aunt 
and niece, that such a striking civility as Miss Darcy's, 
in coming to them on the very day of her arrival at 
Pemberley, for she had reached it only to a late breakfast, 
ought to be imitated, though it could not be equalled, 
by some exertion of politeness on their side ; and, conse- 
quently, that it would be highly expedient to wait on 
her at Pemberley the following morning. They were, 
therefore, to go. — Elizabeth was pleased, though, when she 
asked herself the reason, she had very little to say in reply. 

Mr. Gardiner left them soon after breakfast. The fishing 
scheme had been renewed the day before, and a positive 
engagement made of his meeting some of the gentlemen at 
Pemberley by noon. 


( 267 ) 


Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley's 
disHke of her had originated in jealousy, she could not 
help feeling how very unwelcome her appearance at 
Pemberley must be to her, and was curious to know with 
how much civility on that lady's side, the acquaintance 
would now be renewed. 

On reaching the house, they were shewn through the 
hall into the saloon, whose northern aspect rendered it 
delightful for summer. Its windows opening to the ground, 
admitted a most refreshing view of the high woody hills 
behind the house, and of the beautiful oaks and Spanish 
chcsnuts which were scattered over the intermediate lawn. 

In this room they were received by Miss Darcy, who 
was sitting there with Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, and 
the lady with whom she lived in London. Georgiana's 
reception of them was very civil ; but attended with all 
that embarrassment which, though proceeding from shy- 
ness and the fear of doing wrong, would easily give to 
those who felt themselves inferior, the belief of her being 
proud and reserved. Mrs. Gardiner and her niece, how- 
ever, did her justice, and pitied her. 

By Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, they were noticed only 
by a curtsey ; and on their being seated, a pause, awkward 
as such pauses must always be, succeeded for a few 
moments. It was first broken by Mrs. Annesley, a genteel, 
agreeable-looking woman, whose endeavour to introduce 
some kind of discourse, proved her to be more truly well 
bred than either of the others ; and between her and 
Mrs. Gardiner, with occasional help from Elizabeth, the 
conversation was carried on. Miss Darcy looked as if she 
wished for courage enough to join in it ; and sometimes 
did venture a short sentence, when there was least danger 
of its being heard. 


( 268 ) 

Elizabeth soon saw that she was herself closely watched 
by Miss Bingley, and that she could not speak a word, 
especially to Miss Darcy, without calling her attention. 
This observation would not have prevented her from 
trying to talk to the latter, had they not been seated at 
an inconvenient distance ; but she was not sorry to be 
spared the necessity of saying much. Her own thoughts 
were employing her. She expected every moment that 
some of the gentlemen would enter the room. She wished, 
she feared that the master of the house might be amongst 
them ; and whether she wished or feared it most, she could 
scarcely determine. After sitting in this manner a quarter 
of an hour, without hearing Miss Bingley's voice, Elizabeth 
was roused by receiving from her a cold enquiry after the 
health of her family. She answered with equal indifference 
and brevity, and the other said no more. 

The next variation which their visit afforded was pro- 
duced by the entrance of servants with cold meat, cake, 
and a variety of all the finest fruits in season ; but this 
did not take place till after many a significant look and 
smile from Mrs. Annesley to Miss Darcy had been given, 
to remind her of her post. There was now employment 
for the whole party; for though they could not all talk, 
they could all eat ; and the beautiful pyramids of grapes, 
nectarines, and peaches, soon collected them round the 

While thus engaged, Elizabeth had a fair opportunity 
of deciding whether she most feared .or wished for the 
appearance of Mr. Darcy, by the feelings which prevailed 
on his entering the room ; and then, though but a moment 
before she had believed her wishes to predominate, she 
began to regret that he came. 

He had been some time with Mr. Gardiner, who, with 
two or three other gentlemen from the house, was engaged 
by the river, and had left him only on learning that the 
ladies of the family intended a visit to Georgiana that 
morning. No sooner did he appear, than Elizabeth wisely 
resolved to be perfectly easy and unembarrassed ; — 

( 269 ) 

a resolution the more necessary to be made, but perhaps 
not the more easily kept, because she saw that the sus- 
picions of the whole party were awakened against them, 
and that there was scarcely an eye which did not watch 
his behaviour when he first came into the room. In no 
countenance was attentive curiosity so strongly marked 
as in Miss Bingley's, in spite of the smiles which overspread 
her face whenever she spoke to one of its objects ; for 
jealous y had not yet-made, her de ^perate^ an^^her atten^ 
tions toMr. Darcy were bj^ojrneans over. Miss'CaFcy7 
on her brother's entrance, exerteonerseTf much more to 
talk ; and Elizabeth saw that he was anxious for his 
sister and herself to get acquainted, and forwarded, as 
much as possible, every attempt at conversation on either 
side. Miss Bingley saw all this likewise ; and, in the 
imprudence of anger, took the first opportunity of saying, 
with sneering civility, 

" Pray, Miss Eliza, are not the shire militia removed 

from Mer yton ? They L-j i i ui i t.. .he a frreat loss to your 

In Darcy's presence she dared not mention Wickham's 
name ; but Elizabeth instantly comprehended that he was 
uppermost in her thoughts ; and the various recollections 
connected with him gave her a moment's distress ; but, 
exerting herself vigorously to repel the ill-natured attack, 
she presently answered the question in a tolerably dis- 
engaged tone. While she spoke, an involuntary glance 
shewed her Darcy with an heightened complexion, earnestly 
looking at her, and his sister overcome with confusion, 
and unable to lift up her eyes. Had Miss Bingley known 
what pain she was then giving her beloved friend, she 
undoubtedly would have refrained from the hint ; but she 
had merely intended to discompose Elizabeth, by bringing 
forward the idea of a man to whom she believed her 
partial, to make her betray a sensibility which might 
injure her in Darcy's opinion, and perhaps to remind the 
latter of all the follies and absurdities, by which some part 
of her family were connected with that corps. Not a 


( 270 ) 

syllable had ever reached her of Miss Darcy's meditated 
elopement. To no ereature had it been revealed, where 
secresy was possible, exeept to Elizabeth ; and from all 
Bingley's connections her brother was particularly anxious 
to conceal it, from that very wish which Elizabeth had 
long ago attributed to him, of their becoming hereafter 
her own. He had certainly formed such a plan, and 
without meaning that it should affect his endeavour to 
separate him from Miss Bennet, it is probable that it! 
might add something to his lively concern for the welfare 
of his friend. 

Elizabeth's collected behaviour, however, soon quieted 
his emotion ; and as Miss Bingley, vexed and disappointed, 
dared not approach nearer to Wickham, Georgiana also 
recovered in time, though not enough to be able to speak 
any more. Her brother, whose eye she feared to meet, 
scarcely recollected her interest in the affair, and the very 
circumstance which had been designed to turn his thoughts 
from Elizabeth, seemed to have fixed them on her more, 
and more cheerfully. 

Their visit did not continue long after the question 
and answer above-mentioned ; and while Mr. Darcy was 
attending them to their carriage, Miss Bingley was venting 
her feelings in criticisms on Elizabeth's person, behaviour, 
and dress. But Georgiana would not join her. Her 
brother's recommendation was enough to ensure her 
favour : his judgment could not err, and he had spoken 
in such terms of Elizabeth, as to leave Georgiana without 
the power of finding her otherwise than lovely and amiable. 
When Darcy returned to the saloon. Miss Bingley could 
not help repeating to him some part of what she* had been 
saying to his sister. 

" How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. 
Darcy," she cried ; " I never in my life saw any one so 
much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown 
so brown and coarse ! Louisa and I were agreeing that 
we should not have known her again." 

However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an 

"^ address. 

If ( 271 ) 

ddress, he contented himself with coolly replying, that 
he perceived no other alteration than her being rather 
tanned, — no miraculous consequence of travelling in the 

" For my own part," she rejoined, " I must confess that 
I never could see any beauty in her. Her face is too thin ; 
her complexion has no brilliancy ; and her features are 
not at all handsome. Her nose wants character ; there is 
nothing marked in its lines. Her teeth are tolerable, but 
not out of the common way ; and as for her eyes, which 
have sometimes been called so fine, I never could perceive 
any thing extraordinary in them. They have a sharp, 
shrewish look, which I do not like at all ; and in her 
air altogether, there is a self-sufficiency without fashion, 
which is intolerable." 

Persuaded as Miss Bingley was^^jhajjbxcy^.ad^^ 
ElizabethT^Tiis" was ~ not the best method-^ r ^ e o m jati em iing 
herself ; but angry people are not always wise ; and in 
seeing him at last look somewhat nettled, she had all 
the success she expected. He was resolutely silent how- 
ever ; and, from a determination of making him speak, 
she continued, 

" I remember, Avhen we first knew her in Hertfordshire, 
how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed 
beauty ; and I particularly recollect your saying one 
night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, ^ She 
a beauty ! — I should as soon call her mother a wit.' But 
afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe 
you thought her rather pretty at one time." 

" Yes," replied Darcy, who could contain himself no 
longer, " ^a^ihat wa^ orj^x ja^hen I„,fe^^^^ is 

many monms"since I have considered her as one of the 
handsomest women of my acquaintance." 

He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all 
the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave 
no one any pain but herself. 

Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had 
occurred, during their visit, as they returned, except what 


( 272 ) 

had particularly interested them both. The looks and] 
behaviour of every body they had seen were discussed, 
except of the person who had mostly engaged their atten- 
tion. They talked of his sister, his friends, his house, his 
fruit, of every thing but himself ; yet Elizabeth was 
longing to know what Mrs. Gardiner thought of him, 
and Mrs. Gardiner would have been highly gratified by 
her niece's beginning the subject. 



{ ^-'^^ ) 


Elizabeth had been a good deal disappointed in not 
finding a letter from Jane, on their first arrival at Lambton; 
and this disappointment had been renewed on each of 
the mornings that had now been spent there ; but on the 
third, her repining was over, and her sister justified by 
the receipt of two letters from her at once, on one of which 
was marked that it had been missent elsewhere. Elizabeth 
was not surprised at it, as Jane had written the direction 
remarkably ill. 

They had just been preparing to walk as the letters 
came in ; and her uncle and aunt, leaving her to enjoy 
them in quiet, set off by themselves. The one missent 
must be first attended to ; it had been written five days 
ago. The beginning contained an account of all their 
little parties and engagements, with such news as the 
country afforded ; but the latter half, which was dated 
a day later, and written in evident agitation, gave more 
important intelligence. It was to this effect : 

" Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has 
occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature ; but 
I am afraid of alarming you — be assured that we are all 
well. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. An 
express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone 
to bed, from Colonel Forster, to inform us that she was 
gone off to Scotland with one of his officers ; to own the 
truth, with Wickham !— Iniagine our surprise. To Kitty, 
However, it~3oesliot seem so wholly unexpected. I am 
very, very sorry. So imprudent a match on both sides ! — 
But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character 
has been misunderstood. Thoughtless and indiscreet I can 
easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice over it) 
marks nothing bad at heart. His choice is disinterested 
at least, for he must know my father can give her nothing. 

p. p. T Our 

( 274 ) 

Our poor mother is sadly grieved. My father bears it 
better. How thankful am I, that we never let them know 
what has been said against him ; we must forget it our- 
selves. They were off Saturday night about twelve, as 
is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday morning 
at eight. The express was sent off directly. My dear 
Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. 
Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here 
soon. Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing 
her of their intention. I must conclude, for I cannot be 
long from my poor mother. I am afraid you will not 
be able to make it out, but I hardly know what I have 

Without allowing herself time for consideration, and 
scarcely knowing what she felt, Elizabeth on finishing this 
letter, instantly seized the other, and opening it with the 
utmost impatience, read as follows : it had been written 
a day later than the conclusion of the first. 

" By this time, my dearest sister, you have received 
my hurried letter ; I wish this may be more intelligible, 
but though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered 
that I cannot answer for being coherent. Dearest Lizzy, 
I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news 
for you, and it cannot be delayed. Xmprud^ntj&^irrtaTnage' 
between Mr. JVVicldiam-and be, we 

are jiow" anxious^ to £ta& J^^IJIajcSITor 

there Is but top. m^^ fear they are not-gonc-to 

^qtland. Colonel Forster came yesterday, having left 
Brighton the day before, not many hours after the express. 
Though Lydia's short letter to Mrs. F. gave them to under- 
stand that they were going to Gretna Green, something 
was dropped by Denny expressing his belief that W. never 
intended to go there, or to marry Lydia at all, which was 
repeated to Colonel F. who instantly taking the alarm, 
set off from B. intending to trace their route. He did 
trace them easily . to Clapham, but no farther ; for on 
entering that place they removed into a hackney-coach 
and dismissed the chaise that brought them from Epsom. 


( 275 ) 

All that is known after this is, that they were seen to 
continue the London road. I know not what to think. 
After making every possible enquiry on that side London, 
Colonel F. came on into Hertfordshire, anxiously renewing 
them at all the turnpikes, and at the inns in Barnet and 
Hatfield, but without any success, no such people had 
been seen to pass through. With the kindest concern he 
came on to Longbourn, and broke his apprehensions to us 
in a manner most creditable to his heart. I am sincerely 
grieved for him and Mrs. F. but no one can throw any 
blame on them. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. 
My father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot 
think so ill of ^Im. "TIany circumstances might make it 
more eligible for them to be married privately in town than 
to pursue their first plan ; and even if he could form such 
a design against a young woman of Lydia's connections, 
which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost to every 
thing ? — Impossible. I grieve to find, however, that 
Colonel F. is not disposed to depend upon their marriage ; 
he shook his head when I expressed my hopes, and said 
he feared W. was not a man to be trusted. My poor 
mother is really ill and keeps her room. Could she exert 
herself it would be better, but this is not to be expected ; 
and as to my father, I never in my life saw him so affected. 
Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their attach- 
ment ; but as it was a matter of confidence one cannot 
wonder. I am truly glad, dearest Lizzy, that you have 
been spared something of these distressing scenes ; but 
now as the first shock is over, shall I own that I long for 
your return ? I am not so selfish, however, as to press 
for it, if inconvenient. Adieu. I take up my pen again 
to do, what I have just told you I would not, but cir- 
cumstances are such, that I cannot help earnestly begging 
you all to come here, as soon as possible. I know my dear 
uncle and aunt so well, that I am not afraid of requesting 
it, though I have still something more to ask of the former. 
My father is going to London with Colonel Forster in- 
stantly, to try to discover her. What he means to do, 

T2 I 

( 276 ) 

I am sure I know not ; but his excessive distress will not 
allow him to pursue any measure in the best and safest 
way, and Colonel Forster is obliged to be at Brighton 
again to-morrow evening. In such an exigence my uncle's 
advice and assistance would be every thing in the world ; 
he will immediately cornprehend what I must feel, and 
I rely upon his goodness." 

" Oh ! where, where is my uncle ? " cried Elizabeth, 
darting from her seat as she finished the letter, in eagerness 
to follow him, without losing a moment of the time so 
precious ; but as she reached the door, it was opened by 
a servant, and Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face and 
impetuous manner made him start, and before he could 
recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose mind every 
idea was superseded by Lydia's situation, hastily exclaimed, 
" I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. I must find 
Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be 
delayed ; I have not an instant to lose." 

" Good God ! what is the matter ? " cried he, with 
more feeling than politeness ; then recollecting himself, 
" I will not detain you a minute, but let me, or let the 
servant, go after Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. You are not well 
enough ; — you cannot go yourself." 

Elizabeth hesitated, but her knees trembled under her, 
and she felt how little would be gained by her attempting 
to pursue them. Calling back the servant, therefore, she 
commissioned him, though in so breathless an accent as 
made her almost unintelligible, to fetch his master and 
mistress home, instantly. 

On his quitting the room, she sat down, unable to 
support herself, and looking so miserably ill, that it was 
impossible for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from 
saying, in a tone of gentleness and commiseration, " Let 
me call your maid. Is there nothing you could take, to 
give you present relief ? — A glass of wine ; — shall I get 
you one ? — You are very ill." 

" No, I thank you ; " she replied, endeavouring to 
recover herself. " There is nothing the matter with me. 


( 277 ) 

I am quite well. I am only distressed by some dreadful 
news which I have just received from Longbourn." 

She burst into tears as she alluded to it, and for a few 
minutes could not speak another word. Darcy, in wretched 
suspense, could only say something indistinctly of his 
concern, and observe her in compassionate silence. At ^ 
length, she spoke again. " I have just had a letter from '^-^Cj^ Xl 
Jane, with such dreadful news. It cannot be concealed ^ 
from any one. My youngest sister has left all her friends — ^? / (j/\A 
has eloped ; — has thrown herself into the power of — of 
Mr. Wickham. They are gone off together from Brighton. 
You know him too well to doubt the rest. She has no 
money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to — 
she is lost for ever." 

Darcy was fixed in astonishment. " When I consider ^' / / ^ ^^ , 
she added, in a yet more agitated voice, " thaLZ.iXUghfe, [ij ^ 
have prevented it ! — / who knew what he was. Had I but fXtXXM^*-^ 

to my" own family ! Had his character been known, this ^^ (M--^^ 

could not have hapgenedT But it is all, all too \^ (^A,/v^v/♦-^ 


"*^*^" am grieved, indeed," cried Darcy ; " grieved — 

shocked. But is it certain, absolutely certain ? " 

" Oh yes ! — They left Brighton together on Sunday 
night, and were traced almost to London, but not beyond ; 
they are certainly not gone to Scotland." 

" And what has been done, what has been attempted, 
to recover her ? " 

" My father is gone to London, and Jane has writ-ten 
to beg my uncle's immediate assistance, and we shall be 
off, I hope, in half an hour. But nothing can be done ; 
I know very well that nothing can be done. How is such 
a man to be worked on ? How are they even to be dis- 
covered ? I have not the smallest hope. It is every way 
horrible ! " 

Darcy shook his head in silent acquiesence. 

" When my eyes were opened to his real character. — 
Oh 1 had I known what I ought, what I dared, to do 1 


( 278 ) 

But I knew not — I was afraid of doing too much. 
Wretched, wretched, mistake ! " 

Darcy made no answer. He seemed scarcely to hear 
her, and was walking up and down the room in earnest 
meditation ; his brow contracted, his air gloomy. Elizabeth 
soon observed, and instantly understood it. Her power 
was sinking ; every thing must sink under such a proof 
of family weakness, such an assurance of the deepest 
disgrace. She could neither wonder nor condemn, but the 
belief of his self-conquest brought nothing consolatory to 
her bosom, afforded no palliation of her distress. It was, 
on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand 
her own wishes ; and never had she so honestly felt that 
she could have loved him, as now, when all love must 
be vain. 

But self, though it would intrude, could not engross 
her. Lydia — the humiliation, the misery, she was bringing 
on them all, soon swallowed up every private care ; and 
covering her face with her handkerchief, Elizabeth was 
soon lost to every thing else ; and, after a pause of several 
minutes, was only recalled to a sense of her situation by 
the voice of her companion, who, in a manner, which 
though it spoke compassion, spoke likewise restraint, said, 
" I am afraid you have been long desiring my absence, 
nor have I any thing to plead in excuse of my stay, but 
real, though unavailing, concern. Would to heaven that 
any thing could be either said or done on my part, that 
might offer consolation to such distress. — But I will not 
torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely 
to ask for your thanks. This unfortunate affair will, 
I fear, prevent my sister's having the pleasure of seeing 
you at Pemberley to day." 

" Oh, yes. Be so kind as to apologize for us to Miss 
Darcy. Say that urgent business calls us home immedi- 
ately. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible. 
— I know it cannot be long." 

He readily assured her of his secrecy — again expressed 
his sorrow for her distress, wished it a happier conclusioi) 


( 279 ) 

than there was at present reason to hope, and leaving 
his compHments for her relations, with only one serious, 
parting, look, went away. 

As he quitted the room, Ehzabeth felt how improbable 
it was that they should ever see each other again on such 
terms of cordiality as had marked their several meetings 
in Derbyshire ; and as she" threw a retrospective glance 
over the whole of their acquaintance, so full of contradic- 
tions and varieties, sighed at the perverseness of those 
feelings which would now have promoted its continuance, 
and would formerly have rejoiced in its termination. 

If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affec- 
tion, Elizabeth's change of sentiment will be neither 
improbable nor faulty. But if otherwise, if the regard 
springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, 
in comparison of what is so often described as arising on 
a first interview with its object, and even before two 
words have been exchanged, nothing can be said in her 
defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial 
to the latter method, in her partiality for Wickham, and 
that its ill-success might perhaps authorise her to seek 
the other less interesting mode of attachment. Be that as 
it may, she saw him go with regret ; and in this early 
example of what Lydia's infamy must produce, found 
additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched 
business. Never, since reading Jane's second letter, had 
she entertained a hope of Wickham's meaning to marry 
her. No one but Jane, she thought, could flatter herself 
with such an expectation. Surprise was the least of her 
feelings on this developement. While the contents of the 
first letter remained on her mind, she was all surprise — 
all astonishment that Wickham should marry a girl, whom 
it was impossible he could marry for money ; and how 
Lydia could ever have attached him, had appeared incom- 
prehensible. But now it was all too natural. For such 
an attachment as this, she might have sufficient charms ; 
and though she did not suppose Lydia to be deliberately 
engaging in an elopement, without the intention of mar- 

( 280 ) 

riage, she had no difficulty in beheving that neither her 
virtue nor her understanding would preserve her from 
falling an easy prey. 

She had never perceived, while the regiment was in 
Hertfordshire, that Lydia had any partiality for him, but 
she was convinced that Lydia had wanted only encourage- 
!^ ment to attach herself to any body. Sometimes one 
officer, sometimes another had been her favourite, as their 
attentions raised them in her opinion. Her affections had 
been continually fluctuating, but never without an object. 
The mischief of neglect and mistaken indulgence towards 
such a girl. — Oh ! how acutely did she now feel it. 

She was wild to be at home — to hear, to see, to be 
upon the spot, to share with Jane in the cares that must 
now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged ; a father 
absent, a mother incapable of exertion, and requiring 
constant attendance ; and though almost persuaded that 
nothing could be done for Lydia, her uncle's interference 
seemed of the utmost importance, and till he entered the 
room, the misery of her impatience was severe. Mr. and 
Mrs. Gardiner had hurried back in alarm, supposing, by 
the servant's account, that their niece was taken suddenly 
ill ; — but satisfying them instantly on that head, she 
eagerly communicated the cause of their summons, 
reading the two letters aloud, and dwelling on the post- 
script of the last, with trembling energy. — Though Lydia 
had never been a favourite with them, Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardiner could not but be deeply affected. Not Lydia 
only, but all were concerned in it ; and after the first 
exclamations of surprise and horror, Mr. Gardiner readily 
promised every assistance in his power. — Elizabeth, 
though expecting no less, thanked him with tears of 
gratitude ; and all three being actuated by one spirit, 
every thing relating to their journey was speedily settled. 
They were to be off as soon as possible. " But what is 
to be done about Pemberley ? " cried Mrs. Gardiner. 
" John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent for 
us ; — was it so ? " 


( 281 ) 

" Yes ; and I told him we should not be able to keep 
our engagement. That is all settled." 

" That is all settled ; " repeated the other, as she ran 
into her room to prepare. " And are they upon such 
terms as for her to disclose the real truth ! Oh, that 
I knew how it was ! " 

But wishes were vain ; or at best could serve only to 
amuse her in the hurry and confusion of the following 
hour. Had Elizabeth been at leisure to be idle, she 
would have remained certain that all employment was 
impossible to one so wretched as herself ; but she had 
her share of business as well as her aunt, and amongst 
the rest there were notes to be written to all their friends 
in Lambton, with false excuses for their sudden departure. 
An hour, however, saw the whole completed ; and Mr. 
Gardiner meanwhile having settled his account at the inn, 
nothing remained to be done but to go ; and Elizabeth, 
after all the misery of the morning, found herself, in 
a shorter space of time than she could have supposed, 
seated in the carriage, and on the road to Longbourn. 


( 282 ) ^^. 


" I HAVE been thinking it over again, Elizabeth," said 
her uncle, as they drove from the town ; " and really, 
upon serious consideration, I am much more inclined 
than I was to judge as your eldest sister does of the matter. 
It appears to me so very unlikely, that any young man 
should form such a design against a girl who is by no 
means unprotected or friendless, and who was actually 
staying in his colonel's family, that I am strongly inclined 
to hope the best. Could he expect that her friends would 
not step forward ? Could he expect to be noticed again 
by the regiment, after such an affront to Colonel Forster ? 
His temptation is not adequate to the risk." 

" Do you really think so ? " cried Elizabeth, brightening 
up for a moment. 

" Upon my word," said Mrs. Gardiner, " I begin to be 
of your uncle's opinion. It is really too great a violation 
of decency, honour, and interest, for him to be guilty of 
it. I cannot think so very ill of Wickham. Can you, 
yourself, Lizzy, so wholly give him up, as to believe him 
capable of it ? " 

" Not perhaps of neglecting his own interest. But of 
every other neglect I can believe him capable. If, indeed, 
it should be so! But I dare not hope it. Why should 
they not go on to Scotland, if that had been the case ? " 

" In the first place," replied Mr. Gardiner, " there is 
no absolute proof that they are not gone to Scotland." 

" Oh ! but their removing from the chaise into an 
hackney coach is such a presumption ! And, besides, no 
traces of them were to be found on the Barnet road." 

" Well, then — supposing them to be in London. They 
may be there, though for the purpose of concealment, 
for no more exceptionable purpose. It is not likely that 
money should be very abundant on either side ; and it 

, might 

( 283 ) 

might strike them that they could be more economically, 
though less expeditiously, married in London, than in 

" But why all this secrecy ? Why any fear of detection ? 
Why must their marriage be private ? Oh ! no, no, this 
is not likely. His most particular friend, you see by 
Jane's account, was persuaded of his never intending to 
marry her. Wickham will never marry a woman without 
some money. He cannot afford it. And what claims has 
Lydia, what attractions has she beyond youth, health, and 
good humour, that could make him for her sake, forego 
every chance of benefiting himself by marrying well ? As 
to what restraint the apprehension of disgrace in the corps 
might throw on a dishonourable elopement with her, I am 
not able to judge ; for I know nothing of the effects that 
such a step might produce. But as to your other objec- 
tion, I am afraid it will hardly hold good. Lydia has no 
brothers to step forward ; and he might imagine, from 
my father's behaviour, from his indolence and the little 
attention he has ever seemed to give to what was going 
forward in his family, that he would do as little, and 
think as little about it, as any father could do, in such 
a matter." 

" 5ut^an you t hink that Lydi a is so lost to ev^ r y thing 
but lov^pf~hrm," as"to^^ 
other, terms than marriage ? " 

" It does seem, and it is most shocking indeed," replied 
Elizabeth, with tears in her eyes, " that a sister's sense 
of decency and virtue in such a point should admit of 
doubt. But, really, I know not what to say. Perhaps 
I am not doing her justice. But she is very young ; she 
has never been taught to think on serious subjects ; and 
for the last half year, nay, for a twelvemonth, she has 
been given up to nothing but amusement and vanity. 
She has been allowed to dispose of her time in the most 
idle and frivolous manner, and to adopt any opinions 

that came in her way. Since the shire were first 

quartered in Meryton, nothing but love, flirtation, and 


( 284 ) 

officers, have been in her head. .She has been doin/ 
every thing in her power by thinking and talking on tl 
subject, to give greater — what shall I call it ? suscej 
tibility to her feelings ; which are naturally lively enougl 
And we all know that Wickham has every charm 
person and address that can captivate a woman." 

" But you see that Jane," said her aunt, " does nc 
think so ill of Wickham, as to believe him capable of the 

" Of whom does Jane ever think ill ? And who is there, 
whatever might be their former conduct, that she would 
believe capable of such an attempt, till it were proved 
against them? But Jane knows, as well as I do, what 
Wickham really is. We both know that he has been 
profligate in every sense of the word. That he has neither 
integrity nor honour. That he is as false and deceitful, 
as he is insinuating." 

" And do you really know all this ? " cried Mrs. 
Gardiner, whose curiosity as to the mode of her intelli- 
gence was all alive. 

" I do, indeed," replied Elizabeth, colouring. " I told 
you the other day, of his infamous behaviour to Mr. Darcy ; 
and you, yourself, when last at Longbourn, heard in what 
manner he spoke of the man, who had behaved with such 
forbearance and liberality towards him. And there are 
other circumstances which I am not at liberty — which it 
is not worth while to relate ; but his lies about the whole 
Pemberley family are endless. From what he said of 
Miss Darcy, I was thoroughly prepared to see a proud, 
reserved, disagreeable girl. Yet he knew to the contrary 
himself. He must know that she was as amiable and 
unpretending as we have found her." 

" But does Lydia know nothing of this ? Can she be 
ignorant of what you and Jane seem so well to* under- 
stand ? " 

" Oh, yes ! — that, that is the worst of all. Till I was 
in Kent, and saw so much both of Mr. Darcy and his 
relation, Colonel Fitzwilliam, I was ignorant of the truth 


( 285 ) 

myself. And when I returned home, the shire was 

to leave Meryton in a week or fortnight's time. As that 
was the case, neither Jane, to whom I related the whole, 
nor I, thought it necessary to make our knowledge public ; 
for of what use could it apparently be to any one, that 
the good opinion which all the neighbourhood had of 
him, should then be overthrown ? And even when it was 
settled that Lydia should go with Mrs. Forster, the neces- 
sity of opening her eyes to his character never occurred 
to me. That she could be in any danger from the deception 
never entered my head. That such a consequence as this 
should ensue, you may easily believe was far enough from 
my thoughts." 

*' When they all removed to Brighton, therefore, you 
had no reason, I suppose, to believe them fond of each 

" Not the slightest. I can remember no symptom of 
affection on either side ; and had any thing of the kind 
been perceptible, you must be aware that ours is not a 
family, on which it could be thrown away. When first 
he entered the corps, she was ready enough to admire 
him ; but so we all were. Every girl in, or near Meryton, 
was out of her senses about him for the first two months ; 
but he never distinguished her by any particular attention, 
and, consequently, after a moderate period of extravagant 
and wild admiration, her fancy for him gave way, and others 
of the regiment, who treated her with more distinction, 
again became her favourites." 

It may be easily believed, that however little of novelty 
could be added to their fears, hopes, and conjectures, on 
this interesting subject, by its repeated discussion, no 
other could detain them from it long, during the whole 
of the journey. From Elizabeth's thoughts it was never 
absent. Fixed there by the keenest of all anguish, self 
reproach, she could find no interval of ease or forget- 

They travelled as expeditiously as possible ; and sleeping 


1 ( 

one night on the road, reached Longbourn by dinner-time 
the next day. It was a comfort to EUzabeth to consider 
that Jane could not have been wearied by long ex- 
pectations, ^m 

The little Gardiners, attracted by the sight of a chaisejB 
were standing on the steps of the house, as they entere(^ 
the paddock ; and when the carriage drove up to the door, 
the joyful surprise that lighted up their faces, and dis- 
played itself over their whole bodies, in a variety of capers 
and frisks, was the first pleasing earnest of their welcome. 

Elizabeth jumped out ; and, after giving each of them 
an hasty kiss, hurried into the vestibule, where Jane, who 
came running down stairs from her mother's apartment, 
immediately met her. 

Elizabeth, as she affectionately embraced her, whilst 
tears filled the eyes of both, lost not a moment in asking 
whether any thing had been heard of the fugitives. 

" Not yet," replied Jane. " But now that my dear 
uncle is come, I hope every thing will be well." 

" Is my father in town ? " 

" Yes, he went on Tuesday as I wrote you word." 

" And have you heard from him often ? " 

" We have heard only once. He wrote me a few lines 
on Wednesday, to say that he had arrived in safety, and 
to give me his directions, which I particularly begged him 
to do. He merely added, that he should not write again, 
till he had something of importance to mention." 

" And my mother — How is she ? How are you all ? " 

" My mother is tolerably well, I trust ; though her 
spirits are greatly shaken. She is up stairs, and will have 
great satisfaction in seeing you all. She does not yet 
leave her dressing-room. Mary and Kitty, thank Heaven ! 
are quite well." 

" But you — How are you ? " cried Elizabeth. " You 
look pale. How much you must have gone through ! " 

Her sister, however, assured her, of her being perfectly 
well ; and their conversation, which had been passing 
while Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were engaged with their 


( 287 ) 

children, was now put an end to, by the approach of the 
whole party. Jane ran to her uncle and aunt, and wel- 
comed and thanked them both, with alternate smiles and 

When they were all in the drawing room, the questions 
which Elizabeth had already asked, were of course 
repeated by the others, and they soon found that Jane 
had no intelligence to give. The sanguine hope of good, 
however, which the benevolence of her heart suggested, 
had not yet deserted her ; she still expected that it would 
all end well, and that every morning would bring some 
letter, either from Lydia or her father, to explain their 
proceedings, and perhaps announce the marriage. 

Mrs. Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired, 
after a few minutes conversation together, received them 
exactly as might be expected ; with tears and lamenta- 
tions of regret, invectives against the villanous conduct 
of Wickham, and complaints of her own sufferings and 
J fill usage ; blaming every body but the person to whose 
iiill judging indulgence the errors of her daughter must be 
|| principally owing. 

" If I had been able," said she, " to carry my point of 
going' to Brighton, with all my family, this would not 
have happened ; but poor dear Lydia had nobody to 
take care of her. Why did the Forsters ever let her go 
out of their sight ? I am sure there was some great 
neglect or other on their side, for she is not the kind of 
girl to do such a thing, if she had been well looked after. 
I always thought they were very unfit to have the charge 
of her ; but I was over-ruled, as I always am. Poor 
dear child ! And now here 's Mr. Bennet gone away, and 
I know he will fight Wickham, wherever he meets him, 
and then he will be killed, and what is to become of us all ? 
The Collinses will turn us out, before he is cold in his 
grave ; and if you are not kind to us, brother, I do not 
know what we shall do." 

They all exclaimed against such terrific ideas ; and 
Mr. Gardiner, after general assurances of his affection for 



( 288 ) 

her and all her family, told her that he meant to be in 
London the very next day, and would assist Mr. Bennet 
in every endeavour for recovering Lydia. 

" Do not give way to useless alarm," added he, " though 
it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion 
to look on it as certain. It is not quite a week since they 
left Brighton. In a few days more, we may gain some 
news of them, and till we know that they are not married, 
and have no design of marrying, do not let us give the 
matter over as lost. As soon as I get to town, I shall 
go to my brother, and make him come home with me to 
Gracechurch Street, and then we may consult together as 
to what is to be done." 

" Oh ! my dear brother," rephed Mrs. Bennet, " that 
is exactly what I could most wish for. And now do, 
when you get to town, find them out, wherever they may 
be ; and if they are not married already, make them 
marry. And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait 
for that, but tell Lydia she shall have as much money 
as she chuses, to buy them, after they are married. And, 
above all things, keep Mr. Bennet from fighting. Tell 
him what a dreadful state I am in, — that I am frightened 
out of my wits ; and have such tremblings, such flutter- 
ings, all over me, such spasms in my side, and pains in 
my head, and such beatings at heart, that I can get no 
rest by night nor by day. -And tell my dear Lydia, not 
to give any directions about lier clx>thef?, ilH she jias seen 
me, for she does not know which are the best warehouses. 
Oh, brother, how kind you are ! I know you will contrive 
it all." 

But Mr. Gardiner, though he assured her again of his 
earnest endeavours in the cause, could not avoid recom- 
mending moderation to her, as well in her hopes as her 
fears ; and, after talking with her in this manner till 
dinner was on table, they left her to vent all her feelings 
on the housekeeper, who attended, in the absence of her 

Though her brother and sister were persuaded that 



( 289 ) 

there was no real occasion for such a seclusion from the 
family, they did not attempt to oppose it, for they knew 
that she had not prudence enough to hold her tongue 
before the servants, while they waited at table, and 
judged it better that one only of the household, and the 
one whom they could most trust, should comprehend all 
her fears and solicitude on the subject. 

In the dining-room they were soon joined by Mary and 
Kitty, who had been too busily engaged in their separate 
apartments, to make their appearance before. One came 
from her books, and the other from her toilette. The 
faces of both, however, were tolerably calm ; and no 
change was visible in either, except that the loss of her 
favourite sister, or the anger which she had herself incurred 
in the business, had given something more of fretfulness 
than usual, to the accents of Kitty. As for Mary, she was 
mistress enough of herself to whisper to Elizabeth with 
a countenance of grave reflection, soon after they were 
seated at table, 

" This is a most unfortunate affair ; and will probably 
be much talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice, 
and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other, the 
balm of sisterly consolation," 

Then, perceiving in Elizabeth no inclination of replying, 
she added, " Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, 
we may draw from it this useful lesson ; that loss of 
virtue in a female is irretrievable — that one false step 
involves her in endless ruin — that her reputation is no 
less brittle than it is beautiful, — and that she cannot be 
too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserv- 
ing of the other sex." 

Elizabeth lifted up her eyes in amazement, but was too 
much oppressed to make any reply. Mary, however, 
continued to console herself with such kind of moral 
extractions from the evil before them. 

In the afternoon, the two elder Miss Bennets were able 
to be for half an hour by themselves ; and Elizabeth 
instantly availed herself of the opportunity of making many, 

?• p» u enquiries, 

( 290 ) 

enquiries, which Jane was equally eager to satisfy. After 
joining in general lamentations over the dreadful sequel 
of this event, which Elizabeth considered as all but 
certain, and Miss Bennet could not assert to be wholly 
impossible ; the former continued the subject, by saying, 
" But tell me all and every thing about it, which I have 
not already heard. Give me farther particulars. What 
did Colonel Forster say ? Had they no apprehension of 
any thing before the elopement took place ? They must 
have seen them together for ever." 

" Colonel Forster did own that he had often suspected 
some partiality, especially on Lydia's side, but nothing 
to give him any alarm. I am so grieved for him. His 
behaviour was attentive and kind to the utmost. He was 
coming to us, in order to assure us of his concern, before he 
had any idea of their not being gone to Scotland : when 
that apprehension first got abroad, it hastened his journey." 

" And was Denny convinced that Wickham would not 
marry ? Did he know of their intending to go off ? Had 
Colonel Forster seen Denny himself ? " 

" Yes ; but when questioned by him Denny denied 
knowing any thing of their plan, and would not give his 
real opinion about it. He did not repeat his persuasion 
of their not marrying — and from that, I am inclined to 
hope, he might have been misunderstood before." 

" And till Colonel Forster came himself, not one of you 
entertained a doubt, I suppose, of their being really 
married ? " 

" How was it possible that such an idea should enter 
our brains ! I felt a little uneasy — a little fearful of my 
sister's happiness with him in marriage, because I knew 
that his conduct had not been always quite right. My 
father and mother knew nothing of that, they only felt 
how imprudent a match it must be. Kitty then owned, 
with a very natural triumph on knowing more than the 
rest of us, that in Lydia's last letter, she had prepared 
her for such a step. She had known, it seems, of their 
being in love with each other, many weeks." 


( 291 ) 

*' But not before they went to Brighton ? " 

" No, I believe not." 

" And did Colonel Forster appear to think ill of Wick- 
ham himself ? Does he know his real character ? " 

" I must confess that he did not speak so well of Wick- 
ham as he formerly did. He believed him to be imprudent 
and extravagant. And since this sad affair has taken 
place, it is said, that he left Meryton greatly in debt ; but 
I hope this may be false." 

" Oh, Jane, had we been less secret, had we told what 
we knew of him, this could not have happened ! " 

" Perhaps it would have been better ; " replied her 
sister. " But to expose the former faults of any person, 
without knowing what their present feelings were, seemed 
unjustifiable. We acted with the best intentions." 

" Could Colonel Forster repeat the particulars of Lydia's 
note to his wife ? " 

" He brought it with him for us to see." 

Jane then took it from her pocket-book, and gave it 
to Eliziabeth. These were the contents : 

" My dear Harriet, 
" You will laugh when you know where I am gone, 
and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to- 
morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to 
Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall 
think you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the 
world I love, and he is an angel. I should never be happy 
without him, so think it no harm to be off. You need 
not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you 
do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, 
when I write to them, and sign my name Lydia Wickham. 
What a good joke it will be ! I can hardly write for 
laughing. Pray make my excuses to Pratt, for not keeping 
my engagement, and dancing with him to night. Tell 
him I hope he will excuse me when he knows all, and tell 
him I will dance with him at the next ball we meet, with 
great pleasure. I shall send for my clothes when I get 

u 2 to 

( 292 ) 

to Longbourn ; but I wish you would tell Sally to mend* 
a great slit in my worked muslin gown, before they are 
packed up. Good bye. Give my love to Colonel Forster, 
I jiope you will drink to our good journey. 

" Your affectionate friend, • 

" Lydia Bennet." 

" Oh ! thoughtless, thoughtless Lydia ! " cried Eliza- 
beth when she had finished it. " What a letter is this, 
to be written at such a moment. But at least it shews, 
that she was serious in the object of her journey. Whatever 
he might afterwards persuade her to, it was not on her 
side a scheme of infamy. My poor father ! how he must 
have felt it ! " 

" I never saw any one so shocked. He could not speak 
a word for full ten minutes. My mother was taken ill 
immediately, and the whole house in such confusion ! " 

" Oh ! Jane," cried Elizabeth, " was there a servant 
belonging to it, who did not know the whole story before 
the end of the day ? " 

" I do not know. — I hope there was. — But to be guarded 
at such a time, is very difficult. My mother was in 
hysterics, and though I endeavoured to give her every 
assistance in my power, I am afraid I did not do so much 
as I might have done ! But the horror of what might 
possibly happen, almost took from me my faculties." 

" Your attendance upon her, has been too much for 
you. You do not look well. Oh ! that I had been with 
you, you have had every care and anxiety upon yourself 

" Mary and Kitty have been very kind, and would 
have shared in every fatigue, I am sure, but I did not 
think it right for either of them. Kitty is slight and 
delicate, and Mary studies so much, that her hours of 
repose should not be broken in on. My aunt Phillips 
came to Longbourn on Tuesday, after my father went 
away ; and was so good as to stay till Thursday with me. 
She was of great use and comfort to us all, and lady 


( 293 ) 

Lucas has been very kind ; she walked here on Wednesday 
^■morning to condole with us, and offered her services, 
H|or any of her daughters, if they could be of use to us." 
^^ " She had better have stayed at home," cried Eliza- 
beth ; " perhaps she meant well, but, under such a mis- 
fortune as this, one cannot see too little of one's neighbours. 
Assistance is impossible ; condolence, insufferable. Let 
them triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied." 

She then proceeded to enquire into the measures which 
her father had intended to pursue, while in town, for 
the recovery of his daughter. 

" He meant, I believe," replied Jane, " to go to Epsom, 
the place where they last changed horses, see the postilions, 
and try if any thing could be made out from them. His 
principal object must be, to discover the number of the 
hackney coach which took them from Clapham. It had 
come with a fare from London ; and as he thought the 
circumstance of a gentleman and lady's removing from 
one carriage into another, might be remarked, he meant 
to make enquiries at Clapham. If he could any how dis- 
cover at what house the coachman had before set down 
his fare, he determined to make enquiries there, and hoped 
it might not be impossible to find out the stand and number 
of the coach. I do not know of any other designs that 
he had formed : but he was in such a hurry to be gone, 
and his spirits so greatly discomposed, that I had difficulty 
in finding out even so much as this." 




The whole party were in hopes of a letter from Mr. 
Beniiet the next morning, but the post came in without 
bringing a single line from him. His family knew him to 
be on all common occasions, a most negligent and dilatory 
correspondent, but at such a time, they had hoped for 
exertion. They were forced to conclude, that he had no 
pleasing intelligence to send, but even of thai they would 
have been glad to be certain. Mr. Gardiner had waited 
only for the letters before he set off. 

When he was gone, they were certain at least of receiving 
constant information of what was going on, and their 
uncle promised, at parting, to prevail on Mr. Bennet to 
return to Longbourn, as soon as he could, to the great 
consolation of his sister, who considered it as the only 
security for her husband's not being killed in a duel. 

Mrs. Gardiner and the children were to remain in Hert- 
fordshire a few days longer, as the former thought her 
presence might be serviceable to her nieces. She shared 
in their attendance on Mrs. Bennet, and was a great 
comfort to them, in their hours of freedom. Their other 
aunt also visited them frequently, and always, as she said, 
with the design of cheering and heartening them up, 
though as she never came without reporting some fresh 
instance of Wickham's extravagance or irregularity, she 
seldom went away without leaving them more dispirited 
than she found them. 

All Meryton seemed striving to blacken the man, who, 
but three months before, had been almost an angel of 
light. He was declared to be in debt to every tradesman 
in the place, and his intrigues, all honoured with the title 
of seduction, had been extended into every tradesman's 
family. Every body declared that he was the wickedest 
young man in the world ; and every body began to find 


( 295 ) 

)ut, that they had always distrusted the appearance of 
lis goodness. Elizabeth, though she did not credit above 
half of what was said, believed enough to make her former 
assurance of her sister's ruin still more certain ; and even 
Jane, who believed still less of it, became almost hopeless, 
more especially as the time was now come, when if they 
had gone to Scotland, which" she had never before entirely 
despaired of, they must in all probability have gained 
some news of them. 

Mr. Gardiner left Longbourn on Sunday ; on Tuesday, 
his wife received a letter from him ; it told them, that 
on his arrival, he had immediately found out his brother, 
and persuaded him to come to Gracechurch street. That 
Mr. Bennet had been to Epsom and Clapham, before his 
arrival, but without gaining any satisfactory information ; 
and that he was now determined to enquire at all the 
principal hotels in town, as Mr. Bennet thought it possible 
they might have gone to one of them, on their first coming 
to London, before they procured lodgings. Mr. Gardiner 
himself did not expect any success from this measure, 
but as his brother was eager in it, he meant to assist him 
in pursuing it. He added, that Mr. Bennet seemed wholly 
disinclined at present, to leave London, and promised to 
write again very soon. There was also a postscript to this 

" I have written to Colonel Forster to desire him to 
find out, if possible, from some of the young man's inti- 
mates in the regiment, whether Wickham has any relations 
or connections, who would be likely to know in what part 
of the town he has now concealed himself. If there were 
any one, that one could apply to, with a probability of 
gaining such a clue as that, it might be of essential conse- 
quence. At present we have nothing to guide us. Colonel 
Forster will, I dare say, do every thing in his power to 
satisfy us on this head. But, on second thoughts, perhaps 
Lizzy could tell us, what relations he has now living, 
better than any other person." 

Elizabeth was at no loss to understand from whence 


( 296 ) 

this deference for her authority proceeded ; but it was 
not in her power to give any information of so satisfactory 
a nature, as the compHment deserved. 

She had never heard of his having had any relations, 
except a father and mother, both of whom had been dead 
many years. It was possible, however, that some of his 

companions in the shire, might be able to give 

more information ; and, though she was not very sanguine 
in expecting it, the application was a something to look 
forward to. 

Every day at Longbourn was now a day of anxiety ; 
but the most anxious part of each was when the post 
was expected. The arrival of letters was the first grand 
object of every morning's impatience. Through letters, 
whatever of good or bad was to be told, would be com- 
municated, and every succeeding day was expected to 
bring some news of importance. 

But before they heard again from Mr. Gardiner, a letter 
arrived for their father, from a different quarter, from 
Mr. Collins ; which, as Jane had received directions to 
open all that came for him in his absence, she accordingly 
read ; and Elizabeth, who knew what curiosities his letters 
always were, looked over her, and read it likewise. It was 
as follows : 

" My dear Sir, 
" I feel myself called upoi^ by our relationship, and 
my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous 
affliction you are now suffering under, of which we were 
yesterday informed by a letter from Hertfordshire. Be 
assured, my dear Sir, that Mrs. Collins and myself sincerely 
sympathise with you, and all your respectable family, in 
your present distress, which must be of the bitterest kind, 
because proceeding from a cause which no time can remove. 
No arguments shall be wanting on my part, that can 
alleviate so severe a misfortune ; or that may comfort 
you, under a circumstance that must be of all others most 
afflicting to a parent's mind. The death of your daughter 


( 297 ) 

would have been a blessing in comparison of this. And 
it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to 
suppose, as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this 
licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter, has pro- 
ceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence, though, at the 
same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, 
I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be 
naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an 
enormity, at so early an age. Howsoever that may be, 
you are grievously to be pitied, in which opinion I am not 
only joined by Mrs. Collins, but Hkewise by lady Catherine 
and her daughter, to whom I have related the affair. 
They agree with me in apprehending that this false step 
in one daughter, will be injurious to the fortunes of all 
the others, for who, as lady Catherine herself condescend- 
ingly says, will connect themselves with such a family. 
And this consideration leads me moreover to reflect with j;i^/pJO(j^ 

C augmented satisfaction on a certain event of last Novem-^ / . 
ber, for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved! ^^ ^-^^-vv^ 
in all your sorrow and disgrace. Let me advise you then,? ' ' 

my dear Sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to 
throw off your unworthy child from your affection for 
ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous 

'^^^'^^^' " I am, dear Sir, &c. &c." 

Mr. Gardiner did not write again, till he had received 
an answer from Colonel Fo^cr ; and then he had nothing 
of a pleasant nature to send. It was not known that 
Wickham had a single relation, with whom he kept up 
any connection, and it was certain that he had no near 
one living. His former acquaintance had been numerous ; 
but since he had been in the militia, it did not appear that 
(Jig was on terms of particular friendship with any of them. 
There was no one therefore who could be pointed out, as 
likely to give any news of him. And in the wretched state 
of his own finances, there was a very powerful motive for 
secrec}^ in addition to his fear of discovery by Lydia's 
relations, for it had just transpired that he had left gaming 


( ^8 ) :^m 

debts behind him, to a very considerable amount. Colonel 
Forster believed that more than a thousand pounds would 
be necessary to clear his expences at Brighton. He owed 
a good deal in the town, but his debts of honour were still 
more formidable. Mr. Gardiner did not attempt to conceal 
these particulars from the Longbourn family ; Jane heard 
them with horror. " A gamester ! " she cried . " This i s 
wholly ujiexpectedi I Jil^TDrcytraBldea """^^ 

Mr."i&ardiner added in his letter, that they might expect 
to see their father at home on the following day, which was 
Saturday. Rendered spiritless by the ill-success of all 
their endeavours, he had yielded to his brother-in-law's 
intreaty that he would return to his family, and leave it 
to him to do, whatever occasion might suggest to be 
advisable for continuing their pursuit. When Mrs. Bennet 
was told of this, she did not express so much satisfaction 
as her children expected, considering what her anxiety 
for his life had been before. 

" What, is he coming home, and without poor Lydia ! " 
she cried. " Sure he will not leave London before he has 
found them. Who is to fight Wickham, and make him 
marry her, if he comes away ? " 

As Mrs. Gardiner began to wish to be at home, it was 
settled that she and her children should go to London, 
at the same time that Mr. Bennet came from it. The 
coach, therefore, took them the first stage of their journey, 
and brought its master back to Longbourn. 

Mrs. Gardiner went away in all the perplexity about 
Elizabeth and her Derbyshire friend, that had attended 
her from that part of the world. His name had never 
been voluntarily mentioned before them by her niece ; 
and the kind of half -expectation which Mrs. Gardiner had 
formed, of their being followed by a letter from him, 
had ended in nothing. Elizabeth had received none since 
her return, that could come from Pemberley. 

The present unhappy state of the family, rendered any 
other excuse for the lowness of her spirits unnecessary ; 
nothing, therefore, could be fairly conjectured from that, 




( 299 ) 

though EUzabeth, who was by this time tolerably well 
acquainted with her own feelings, was perfectly aware, 
that, had she known nothing of Darcy, she could have 
borne the dread of Lydia's infamy somewhat better. It 
would have spared her, she thought, one sleepless night 
out of two. 

When Mr. Bennet arrived, he had all the appearance 
of his usual philosophic composure. }^q said as little as 
he had ever been in the habit of saying ; made no mention 
of the business that had taken him away, and it was 
some time before his daughters had courage to speak of it. 

It was not till the afternoon, when he joined them at 
tea, that Elizabeth ventured to introduce the subject ; 
and then, on her briefly expressing her sorrow for what 
he must have endured, he replied, " Say nothing of that. 
Who should suffer but myself ? It has been my own 
doing, and I ought to feel it." 

" You must not be too severe upon yourself," repHed 

" You may well warn me against such an evil. Human 
nature is so prone to fall into it ! No, Lizzy, let me once 
in my life feel how much I have been to blame. I am not 
afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will 
pass away soon enough." 

" Do you suppose them to be in London ? " 

" Yes ; where else can they be so well concealed ? " 

" And Lydia used to want to go to London," added 

" She is happy, then," said her father, drily ; " and 
her residence there will probably be of some duration." 

Then, after a short silence, he continued, " Lizzy, I bear 
you no ill-will for being justified in your advice to me 
last May, which, considering the event, shews some 
greatness of mind." 

They were interrupted by Miss Bennet, who came to 
fetch her mother's tea. 

" This is a parade," cried he, " which does one good ; 
it gives such an elegance to misfortune ! Another day 


( 300 ) 

I will do the same ; I will sit in my library, in my night cap 
and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I can, — 
or, perhaps, I may defer it, till Kitty runs away." 

" I am not going to run away, Papa," said Kitty, 
fretfully ; " if / should ever go to Brighton, I would 
behave better than Lydia." 

" You go to Brighton ! — I would not trust you so near 
it as East Bourneii for fifty pounds ! No, Kitty, I have 
at last learnt to be cautious, and you will feel the effects 
of it. No officer is ever to enter my house again, nor even 
to pass through the village. Balls will be absolutely 
prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters. 

iAnd you are never to stir out of doors, till you can prove, 
that you have spent ten minutes of every day in a rational 

Kitty, who took all these threats in a serious light, 
J began to cry. 

jf Jc " Well, well," said he, " do not make yourself unhappy. 

/o^T/ If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take 
/ |V you to a review at the end of them." 


( 301 ) 


Two days after Mr. Bennet's return, as Jane and 
Elizabeth were walking together in the shrubbery behind 
the house, they saw the housekeeper coming towards 
them, and, concluding that she came to call them to their 
mother, went forward to meet her ; but, instead of the 
expected summons, when they approached her, she said 
to Miss Bennet, " I beg your pardon, madam, for inter- 
rupting you, but I was in hopes you might have got some 
good news from town, so I took the liberty of coming 
to ask." 

" What do you mean. Hill ? We have heard nothing 
from town." 

" Dear madam," cried Mrs. Hill, in great astonishment, 
" dont you know there is an express come for master 
from Mr. Gardiner ? He has been here this half hour, and 
master has had a letter." 

Away ran the girls, too eager to get in to have time for 
speech. They ran through the vestibule into the breakfast 
room ; from thence to the library ; — their father was in 
neither ; and they were on the point of seeking him up 
stairs with their mother, when they were met by the butler, 
who said, 

" If you are looking for my master, ma'am, he is walking 
towards the little copse." 

Upon this information, they instantly passed through 
the hall once more, and ran across the lawn after their 
father, who was deliberately pursuing his way towards 
a small wood on one side of the paddock. 

Jane, who was not so light, nor so much in the habit of 
running as Elizabeth, soon lagged behind, while her sister, 
panting for breath, came up with him, and eagerly cried out, 

*' Oh, Papa, what news ? what news ? have you heard 
from my uncle ? " 


( 302 ) 

" Yes, I have had a letter from him by express." 

" Well, and what news does it bring ? good or bad ? *' 

" What is there of good to be expected ? " said he, 

taking the letter from his pocket ; " but perhaps you 

would like to read it." 

Elizabeth impatiently caught it from his hand. Jane 

now came up. 

" Read it aloud," said their father, " for I hardly know 

myself what it is about." 

'* Gracechurch-street, Monday, 
August 2. 
" My dear Brother, 

" At last I am able to send you some tidings of my 
niece, and such as, upon the whole, I hope will give you 
satisfaction. Soon after you left me on Saturday, I was 
fortunate enough to find out in what part of London they 
were. The particulars, I reserve till we meet. It is enough 
to know they are discovered, Lhaj^e _seen_them bot h " 

" Then it is, as I always hoped," cried Jane ; " they 
are married ! " 

Elizabeth read on ; "I have seen them both. They 
are not married, nor can I find there was any intention 
oTBeing^soT^ISuTil^mrare willing to perform the engage- 
ments which I have ventured to make on your side, I hope 
it will not be long before they are. All that is required 
of you is, 'to assure to your daughter, by settlement, her 
eq ^al s hare , of thc_fiye thousand pounds, secured among 
your children alter the decease of yourself and my sister ; 
and, moreover, to enter into an engagement of allowing 
her, during your life, one hund red pounds per annum. 
These are conditions, whiclT, con^lHeHng every tMhg, I had 
no hesitation in complying with, as far as I thought 
myself privileged, for you. I shall send this by express, 
that no time may be lost in bringing me your answer. 
You will easily comprehend, from these particulars, that 
Mr. Wickham's circumstances are not so hopeless as they 
are generally believed to be. The world has been deceived 



( 303 ) 

in that respect ; and I am happy to say, there will be 
some little money, even when all his debts are discharged, 
to settle on my niece, in addition to her own fortune. 
If, as I conclude will be the case, you send me full powers 
to act in your name, throughout the whole of this business, 
I will immediately give directions to Haggerston for pre- 
paring a proper settlement. There will not be the smallest 
occasion for your coming to town again ; therefore, stay 
quietly at Longbourn, and depend on my diligence and care. 
Send back your answer as soon as you can, and be careful 
to write explicitly. We have judged it best, that my niece 
should be married from this house, of which I hope you 
will approve. She comes to us to-day. I shall write again 
as soon as any thing more is determined on. Your's, &c. 

" Edw. Gardiner." 

"Is it possible ! " cried Elizabeth, when she had 
finished. " Can it be possible that he will marry her ? " 

" Wickham is not so undeserving, then, as we have 
thought him ; " said her sister. " My dear father, I con- 
gratulate you." 

" And have you answered the letter ? " said Elizabeth. 

" ^No ; but it must be done soon." 

Most earnestly did she then intreat him to lose no more 
time before he wrote. 

" Oh ! my dear father," she cried, " come back, and 
write immediately. Consider how important every 
moment is, in such a case." 

" Let me write for you," said Jane, " if you dislike the 
trouble yourself." 

*' I dislike it very much," he replied ; " but it must 
be done." 

And so saying, he turned back with them, and walked 
towards the house. 

" And may I ask ? " said Ehzabeth, " but the terms, 
I suppose, must be complied with." 

" Complied with ! I am only ashamed of his asking so 


( 304 ) 

" And they must marry ! Yet he is such a man ! " 

" Yes, yes, they must marjjy*,,, There is nothing else to 
be done. But there are two things that I want very much 
to know : — one is, how much money your uncle has. laid 
down, to bring it about ; and the other, how I am ever 
to pay him.'* 

" Money ! my uncle I " cried Jane, " what do you 
mean. Sir ? " 

" I mean, that no man in his senses, would marryj^j;dia 
on so slight a temptation as one hundred a-year during 
my life, and fifty after I am gone." 

"That is very true," said Elizabeth ; " though it ha^i 
not occurred to me before. His debts to be discharged, 
and something still to remain ! Oh ! it must be my 
uncle's doings ! Generous, good man, I am afraid he has 
distressed himself. A small sum could not do all this." 

" No," said her father, " Wickham 's a fool, if he 
takes her with a farthing less than ten thousand pounds. 
I should be sorry to think so ill of him, in the very begin- 
ning of our relationship." 

" Ten thousand pounds ! Heaven forbid ! How is half 
such a sum to be repaid ? " 

Mr. Bennet made no answer, and each of them, deep 
in thought, continued silent till they reached the house. 
Their father then went to the library to write, and the 
girls walked into the breakfast-room. 

" And they are really to be married ! " cried Elizabeth, 
as soon as they were by themselves. " How strange this 
is ! And for this we are to be thankful. That they should 
marry, small as is their chance of happiness, and wretched 
as is his character, we are forced to rejoice ! Oh, Lydia I " 

"I comfort myself with thinking," replied Jane, "that 
he certainly would not marry Lydia, if he had not a real 
regard for her. Though our kind uncle has done something 
towards clearing him, I cannot believe that ten thousand 
pounds, or any thing like it, has been advanced. He has 
children of his own, and may have more. HowjiWiW-4ie 
spare half ten thousand pounds ? " 

( 305 ) 

" If we are ever able to learn what Wickham's debts 
have been," said Elizabeth, "and how much is settled on his 
side on our sister, we shall exactly know what Mr. Gardiner 
has done for them, because Wickham has not sixpence 
of his own. The kindness of my uncle and aunt can never 
be requited. Their taking her home, and affording her 
their personal protection and countenance, is such a 
sacrifice to her advantage, as years of gratitude cannot 
enough acknowledge. By this time she is actually with 
them ! If such goodness does not make her miserable 
now, she will never deserve to be happy ! What a meeting 
for her, when she first sees my aunt ! " 

"We must endeavour to forget all that has passed on 
either side," said Jane : "I hope and trust they will yet 
be happy. His consenting to marry her is a proof, I will 
believe, that he is come to a right way of thinking. Their 
mutual affection will steady them ; and I flatter myself 
they will settle so quietly, and live in so rational a manner, 
as may in time make their past imprudence forgotten." 

" Their conduct has been such," replied Elizabeth, " as 
neither you, nor I, nor any body, can ever forget. It is 
useless to talk of it." 

It now occurred to the girls that their mother was in 
all likelihood perfectly ignorant of what had happened. 
They went to the fibrary, therefore, and asked their father, 
whether he would not wish them to make it known to 
her. He was writing, and, without raising his head, coolly 

" Just as you please." 

" May we take my uncle's letter to read to her ? " 

" Take whatever you like, and get away." 

Elizabeth took the letter from his writing table, and 
they went up stairs together. Mary and Kitty were both 
with Mrs. Bennet : one communication would, therefore, 
do for all. After a slight preparation for good news, the 
letter was read aloud. Mrs. Bennet could hardly contain 
herself. As soon as Jane had read Mr. Gardiner's hope 
of Lydia's being soon married, her joy burst forth, and 

p- p- X every 




( 306 ) 

every following sentence added to its exuberance. She 
was now in an irritation as violent from delight, as she 
had ever been fidgetty from alarm and vexation. To know 
that her daughter would be married was enough. She 
was disturbed by no fear for her felicity, nor humbled 
by any remembrance of her misconduct. 

" My dear, dear Lydia ! " she cried : " This is delightful 
indeed ! — She will be married ! — I shall see her again ! — 
She will be married at sixteen ! — My good, kind brother ! — 
I knew how it would be — I knew he would manage every 
thing. How I long to see her ! and to see dear Wickham 
too ! But the clothes, the wedding clothes ! I will write 
to my sister Gardiner about them directly. Lizzy, my 
dear, run down to your father, and ask him how much 
he will give her. Stay, stay, I will go myself. Ring the 
bell, Kitty, for Hill. I will put on my things in a moment. 
My dear, dear Lydia ! — How merry we shall be together 
when we meet ! " 

VHer eldest daughter endeavoured to give some relief to 
he violence of these transports, by leading her thoughts 
to the obligations which Mr. Gardiner's behaviour laid 
them all under. 

" For we must attribute this happy conclusion," she 
added, " in a great measure, to his kindness. We are 
persuaded that he has pledged himself to assist Mr. Wick- 
ham with money." 

" Well," cried her mother, " it is all very right ; who 
should do it but her own uncle ? If he had not had 
a family of his own, I and my children must have had all 
his money you know, and it is the first time we have ever 
had any thing from him, except a few presents. Well ! 
I am so happy. In a short time, I shall have a daughter 
married. Mrs. Wickham ! How wellit soundsi And she 
was only sixBeSrrtet June. My dear Jane, I am in such 
a flutter, that I am sure I can't write ; so I will dictate, 
and you write for me. We will settle with your father 
about the money afterwards ; but the things should be 
ordered immediately." 


( 307 ) 

She was then proceeding to all the particulars of calico, 
muslin, and cambric, and would shortly have dictated 
some very plentiful orders, had not Jane, though with 
some difficulty, persuaded her to wait, till her father was 
at leisure to be consulted. One day's delay she observed, 
would be of small importance ; and her mother was too 
happy, to be quite so obstinate as usual. Other schemes 
too came into her head. 

" I will go to Meryton," said she, " as soon as I am 
dressed, and tell the good, good news to my sister Phillips. 
And as I come back, I can call on Lady Lucas and Mrs. 
Long. Kitty, run down and order the carriage. An 
airing would do me a great deal of good, I am sure. Girls, 
can I do any thing for you in Meryton ? Oh ! here comes 
Hill. My dear Hill, have you heard the good news ? Miss 
Lydia is going to be married ; and you shall all have a 
bowl of punch, to make merry at her wedding." 

Mrs. Hill began instantly to express her joy. Elizabeth 
received her congratulations amongst the rest, and then, 
sick of this folly, took refuge in her own room, that she 
might think with freedom. 

Poor Lydia's situation must, at best, be bad enough ; 
but that it was no worse, she had need to be thankful. 
She felt it so ; and though, in looking forward, neither 
rational happiness nor worldly prosperity, could be justly 
expected for her sister ; in looking back to what they 
had feared, only two hours ago, she felt all the advan- 
tages of what they had gained. 


( 308 ) 


Mr. Bennet had very often wished, before this period 
of his Hfe, that, instead of spending his whole income, he 
had laid by an annual sum, for the better provision of 
his children, and of his wife, if she survived him. He now 
wished it more than ever. Had he done his duty in that 
respect, Lydia need not have been indebted to her uncle, 
for whatever of honour or credit could now be purchased 
for her. The satisfaction of prevailing on one of the most 
worthless young men in Great Britain to be her husband, 
might then have rested in its proper place. 

He was seriously concerned, that a cause of so little 
advantage to any one, should be forwarded at the sole 
expence of his brother-in-law, and he was determined, 
if possible, to find out the extent of his assistance, and to 
discharge the obligation as soon as he could. 

When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held 
to be perfectly useless ; for, of course, they were to have 
a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as 
soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger 
children would by that means be provided for. Five 
daughters successively entered the world, but yet the son 
was to come ; and Mrs. Bennet, for many years after 
Lydia' s birth, had been certain that he would. This event 
had at last been despaired of, but it was then too late to 
be saving. Mrs. Bennet had no turn for economy, and her 
husband's love of independence had alone prevented their 
exceeding their income. 

Five thousand pounds was settled by marriage articles 
on Mrs. Bennet and the children. But in what propor- 
tions it should be divided amongst the latter, depended 
on the will of the parents. This was one point, with 
regard to Lydia at least, which was now to be settled, 
and Mr. Bennet could have no hesitation in acceding to 


( 309 ) 

the proposal before him. In terms of grateful acknow- 
ledgment for the kindness of his brother, though expressed 
most concisely, he then delivered on paper his perfect 
approbation of all that was done, and his willingness to 
fulfil the engagements that had been made for him. He 
had never before supposed that, could Wickham be pre- 
vailed on to marry his daughter, it would be done with 
so little inconvenience to himself, as by the present 
arrangement. He would scarcely be ten pounds a-year 
the loser, by the hundred that was to be paid them ; 
for, what with her board and pocket allowance, and the 
continual presents in money, which passed to her, through 
her mother's hands, Lydia's expences had been very little 
within that sum. 

That it would be done with such trifling exertion on 
his side, too, was another very welcome surprise ; for his 
chief wish at present, was to have as little trouble in the 
business as possible. When the first transports of rage 
which had produced his activity in seeking her were over, 
he naturally returned to all his former indolence. His 
letter was soon dispatched ; for though dilatory in under- 
taking business, he was quick in its execution. He begged 
to know farther particulars of what he was indebted to 
his brother ; but was too angry with Lydia, to send any 
message to her. 

The good news quickly spread through the house ; and 
with proportionate speed through the neighbourhood. It 
was borne in the latter with decent philosophy. To be 
sure it would have been more for the advantage of con- 
versation, had Miss Lydia Bennet come upon the town ; 
or, as the happiest alternative, been secluded from the 
world, in some distant farm house. But there was much 
to be talked of, in marrying her ; and the good-natured 
wishes for her well-doing, which had proceeded before, 
from all the spiteful old ladies in Meryton, lost but 
little of th^ir spirit in this change of circumstances, 
because with such an husband, her misery was considered 


( 310 ) 

It was a fortnight since Mrs. Bennet had been down 
stairs, but on this happy day, she again took her seat at 
the head of her table, and in spirits oppressively high. 
No sentiment of shame gave a damp to her triumph. 
The marriage of a daughter, which had been the first 
object of her wishes, since Jane was sixteen, was now on 
the point of accomplishment, and her thoughts and her 
words ran wholly on those attendants of elegant nuptials, 
fine muslins, new carriages, and servants. She was busily 
searching through the neighbourhood for a proper situation 
for her daughter, and, without knowing or considering 
what their income might be, rejected many as deficient 
in size and importance. 

" Haye-Park might do," said she, " if the Gouldings 
would quit it, or the great house at Stoke, if the drawing- 
room were larger ; but Ashworth is too far off ! I could 
not bear to have her ten miles from me ; and as for Purvis 
Lodge, the attics are dreadful." 

Her husband allowed her to talk on without interrup- 
tion, while the servants remained. But when they had 
withdrawn, he said to her, " Mrs. Bennet, before you take 
any, or all of these houses, for your son and daughter, 
let us come to a right understanding. Into one house jn 
this neighbourhood, they shall never lia^ c admrttance. 
I~-wift-ftot-««<3o«ragei:h'e impudence of eithcXj^Jby^ceiying 
them at Longbourn." 

A long dispute followed this declaration; but Mr. 
Bennet was firm : it soon led to another ; and Mrs. 
Bennet found, with amazement and horror, that her 
husband would not advance a guinea to buy clothes for 
his daughter. He protested that she should receive from 
him no mark of affection whatever, on the occasion. 
Mrs. Bennet could hardly comprehend it. That his anger 
could be carried to such a point of inconceivable resent- 
ment, as to refuse his daughter a privilege, without which 
her marriage would scarcely seem valid, exceeded all that 
she could believe possible. She was more alive to the 
disgrace, which the want of new clothes must reflect on 



( 311 ) 

her daughter's nuptials, than to any sense of shame at 
her eloping and living with Wickham, a fortnight before 
they took place. 

Elizabeth was now most heartily sorry that she had, 
from the distress of the moment, been led to make Mr. 
Darcy acquainted with their fears for her sister ; for 
since her marriage would so shortly give the proper 
termination to the elopement, they might hope to. conceal 
its unfavourable beginning, from all those who were not 
immediately on the spot. 

She had no fear of its spreading farther, through his 
means. There were few people on whose secrecy she 
would have more confidently depended ; but at the same 
time, there was no one, whose knowledge of a sister's 
frailty would have mortified her so much. Not, however, 
from any fear of disadvantage from it, individually to 
herself ; for at any rate, there seemed a gulf impassable 
between them. Had Lydia's marriage been concluded on 
the most honourable terms, it was not to be supposed 
that Mr. Darcy would connect himself with a family, 
where to every other objection would now be added, an 
alliance and relationship of the nearest kind with the 
man-whom he so justly scorned. 

From such a connection she could not wonder that he 
should shrink. The wish of procuring her regard, which 
she had assured herself of his feeling in Derbyshire, could 
not in rational expectation survive such a blow as this. 
She was humbled, she was grieved ; she repented, though 
she hardly knew of what. She became jealous of his 
esteem, when she could no longer hope to be benefited 
by it. She wanted to hear of him, when there seemed 
the least chance of gaining intelligence. She was convinced 
that she could have been happy with him ; when it was 
no longer likely they should meet. 

What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could 
he know that the proposals which she had proudly, spurned 
only four months ago, would now have been gladly and 
gratefully received ! He was as generous, she doubted not, 



( S12 ) 

as the most generous of his sex. But while he was mortal, 
there must be a triumph. 

She beg^an now to comprehend that he was exactly the 
marirwKo, ln~(3isposition and talents, would nipst suit her. 
His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, 
would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that 
Wust have been to the advantage of both; by her ease 
land liveliness, his mind might have been sofieiied»..*his 
Imanners improved, and from his judgment, information, 
and knowledge of the world, she must have received 
'benefit of greater importance. 

But no _su„ch Jaappy-^inarriage could now teach .the 
admirmg multitude what connubial felicity really was. 
An union of a different tendency, and precluding. the pos- 
sibility of the other, was soon to be formed in their family. 

How Wickham and Lydia were to be supported in 
tolerable independence, she could not imagine. But how 
little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple 
who were only brought together because their passions 
were stronger than their virtue, she could easily con- 
jecture. • 

Mr. Gardiner soon wrote again to his brother. To 
Mr. Bennet's acknowledgments he briefly replied, with 
assurances of his eagerness to promote the welfare of any 
of his family ; and concluded with intreaties that the 
subject might never be mentioned to him again. The 
principal purport of his letter was to inform them, that 
Mr. Wickham had resolved on quitting the Militia. 

" It was greatly my wish that he should do so," he 
added, " as soon as his marriage was fixed on. And 
I think you will agree with me, in considering a removal 
from that corps as highly advisable, both on his account 
and my niece's. It is Mr. Wickham's intention to go into 
the regulars ; and, among his former friends, there are 
still son^e who are able and willing to assist him in the 
army. He has the promise of an ensigncy in General 

's regiment, now quartered in the North. It is an 



( 313 ) 

advantage to have it so far from this part of the kingdom. 
He promises fairly, and I hope among different people, 
where they may each have a character to preserve, they 
will both be more prudent. I have written to Colonel 
Forster, to inform him of our present arrangements, and 
to request that he will satisfy the various creditors of 
Mr. Wickham in and near Brighton, with assurances of 
speedy payment, for which I have pledged myself. And 
will you give yourself the trouble of carrying similar 
assurances to his creditors in Meryton, of whom I shall 
subjoin a list, according to his information. He has 
given in all his debts ; I hope at least he has not deceived 
us. Haggerston has our directions, and all will be com- 
pleted in a week. They will then join his regiment, unless 
they are first invited to Longbourn ; and I understand 
from Mrs. Gardiner, that my niece is very desirous of 
seeing you all, before she leaves the South. She is well, 
and begs to be dutifully remembered to you and her 
mother. — Your's, &c. 

" E. Gardiner." 

Mr. Bennet and his daughters saw all the advantages 

of Wickham's removal from the shire, as clearly as 

Mr. Gardiner could do. But Mrs. Bennet, was not so well 
pleased with it. Lydia's being settled in the North, just 
when she had expected most pleasure and pride in her 
company, for she had by no means given up her plan of 
their residing in Hertfordshire, was a severe disappoint- 
ment ; and besides, it was such a pity that Lydia should 
be taken from a regiment where she was acquainted with 
every body, and had so many favourites. 

" She is so fond of Mrs. Forster," said she, " it will be 
quite shocking to send her away ! And there are several 
of the young men, too, that she likes very much. The 

officers may not be so pleasant in General 's 


His daughter's request, for such it might be considered, 
of being admitted into her family again, before she set 


( 314 ) 

off for the North, received at first an absolute negative. 
But Jane and Elizabeth, who agreed in wishing, for the 
sake of their sister's feelings and consequence, that she 
should be noticed on her marriage by her parents, urged 
him so earnestly, yet so rationally and so mildly, to receive 
her and her husband at Longbourn, as soon as they were 
married, that he was prevailed on to think as they thought, 
and act as they wished. And their mother had the satis- 
faction of knowing, that she should be able to shew her 
married daughter in the neighbourhood, before she was 
banished to the North. When Mr. Bennet wrote again 
to his brother, therefore, he sent his permission for them 
to come ; and it was settled, that as soon as the ceremony 
was over, they should proceed to Longbourn. Elizabeth 
was surprised, however, that Wickham should consent to 
such a scheme, and, had she consulted only her own inclin- 
ation, any meeting with him would have been the last 
object of her wishes. 


( 315 ) 


Their sister's wedding day arrived ; and Jane and 
Elizabeth felt for her probably more than she felt for 

herself. The carriage was sent to meet them at , 

and they were to return in it, by dinner-time. Their 
arrival was dreaded by the elder Miss Bennets ; and Jane 
more especially, who gave Lydia the feelings which would 
have attended herself, had she been the culprit, was 
wretched in the thought of what her sister must endure. 

They came. The family were assembled in the break- 
fast room, to receive them. Smiles decked the face of 
Mrs. Bennet, as the carriage drove up to the door ; her 
husband looked impenetrably grave ; her daughters, 
alarmed, anxious, uneasy. 

Lydia's voice was heard in the vestibule ; the door was 
thrown open, and she ran into the room. Her mother 
stepped forwards, embraced her, and welcomed her with 
rapture ; gave her hand with an affectionate smile to 
Wiclfham, who followed his lady, and wished them both 
joy, with an alacrity which shewed no doubt of their 

Their reception from Mr. Bennet, to whom they then 
turned, was not quite so cordial. His countenance rather 
gained in austerity ; and he scarcely opened his lips. 
The easy assurance of the young couple, indeed, was 
enough to provoke him. Elizabeth was disgusted, and 
even Miss Bennet was shocked. Lydia was Lydia still ; 
untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless. She turned 
from sister to sister, demanding their congratulations, and 
when at length they all sat down, looked eagerly round 
the room, took notice of some little alteration in it, and 
observed, with a laugh, that it was a great while since 
she had been there. 

Wickham was not at all more distressed than herself, 


( 316 ) 

but his manners were always so pleasing, that had his 
character and his marriage been exactly what they ought, 
his smiles and his easy address, while he claimed their 
relationship, would have delighted them all. Elizabeth 
had not before believed him quite equal to such assurance ; 
but she sat down, resolving within herself, to draw no 
limits in future to the impudence of an impudent man. 
She blushed, and Jane blushed ; but the cheeks of the 
two who caused their confusion, suffered no variation of 

There was no want of discourse. The bride and her 
mother could neither of them talk fast enough ; and 
Wickham, who happened to sit near Elizabeth, began 
enquiring after his acquaintance in that neighbourhood, 
with a good humoured ease, which she felt very unable 
to equal in her replies. They seemed each of them to have 
the happiest memories in the world. Nothing of the past 
was recollected with pain ; and Lydia led voluntarily to 
subjects, which her sisters would not have alluded to for 
the world. 

" Only think of its being three months," she cried, 
" since I went away ; it seems but a fortnight I declare ; 
and yet there have been things enough happened in the 
time. Good gracious ! when I went away, I am sure 
I had no more idea of being married till I came back 
again ! thotigh I thought it would be very good fun if 
I was." 

Her father lifted up his eyes. Jane was distressed. 
Elizabeth looked expressively at Lydia ; but she, who 
never heard nor saw any thing of which she chose to be 
insensible, gaily continued, " Oh ! mamma, do the people 
here abouts know I am married to-day? I. was afraid 
they might not ; and we overtook William Gpulding in 
his curricle, so I was determined he should know it^ and 
so I let down the side glass next to him, and took off my 
glove, and let my hand just rest upon the window frame, 
so that he might see the ring, and then I bowed and 
smiled like any thing." 


( 317 ) 

Elizabeth could bear it no longer. She got up, and ran 
out of the room ; and returned no more, till she heard 
them passing through the hall to the dining parlour. 
She then joined them soon enough to see Lydia, with 
anxious parade, walk up to her mother's right hand, and 
hear her say to her eldest .sister, " Ah ! Jane, I take 
your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a 
married woman." 

It was not to be supposed that time would give Lydia 
that embarrassment, from which she had been so wholly 
free at first. Her ease and good spirits increased. She 
longed to see Mrs. Phillips, the Lucasses, and all their 
other neighbours, and to hear herself called " Mrs. Wick- 
ham," by each of them ; and in the mean time, she went 
after dinner to shew her ring and boast of being married, 
to Mrs. Hill and the two housemaids. 

" Well, mamma," said she, when they were all returned 
to the breakfast room, " and what do you think of my 
husband ? Is not he a charming man ? I am sure my 
sisters must all envy me. I only hope they may have 
half my good luck. They must all go to Brighton. That 
is the place to get husbands. What a pity it is, mamma, 
we did not all go." 

" Very true ; and if I had my will, we should. But 
my dear Lydia, I don't at all like your going such a way 
off. Must it be so ? " 

" Oh, lord ! yes ; — there is nothing in that. I shall 
like it of all things. You and papa, and my sisters, must 
come down and see us. We shall be at Newcastle all the 
winter, and I dare say there will be some balls, and I will 
take care to get good partners for them all." 

" I should like it beyond any thing ! " said her mother. 

"And then when you go away, you may leave one 
or two of my sisters behind you ; and I dare say I shall 
get husbands for them before the winter is over." 

" I thank you for my share of the favour," said Eliza- 
beth ; " bi;it I do not ^[Tticularly like your way of getting 
husbands." | j "^ 



( 318 ) 

Their visitors were not to remain above ten days with 
them. Mr. Wickham had received his commission before 
he left London, and he was to join his regiment at the end 
of a fortnight. 

No one but Mrs. Bennet, regretted that their stay 
would be so short ; and she made the most of the time, 
by visiting about with her daughter, and having very 
frequent parties at home. These parties were acceptable 
to all ; to avoid a family circle was even more desirable 
to such as did think, than such as did not. 

Wickham's affection for Lydia, was just what Elizabeth 
had expected to find it ; not equal to Lydia's for him. 
She had scarcely needed her present observation to be 
satisfied, from the reason of things, that their elopement 
had been brought on by the strength of her love, rather 
than by his ; and she would have wondered why, without 
violently caring for her, he chose to elope with her at 
all, had she not felt certain that his flight was rendered 
necessary by distress of circumstances ; and if that were 
the case, he was not the young man to resist an oppor- 
tunity of having a companion. 

Lydia was exceedingly fond of him. He was her dear 
Wickham on every occasion ; no one was to be put in 
competition with him. He did every thing best in the 
world ; and she was sure he would kill more birds on the 
first of September, than any body else in the country. 

One morning, soon after their arrival, as she was sitting 
with her two elder sisters, she said to Elizabeth, 

" Lizzy, I never gave you an account of my wedding, 
I believe. You were not by, when I told mamma, and the 
others, all about it. Are not you curious to hear how it 
was managed ? " 

" No really," replied Elizabeth ; " I think there cannot 
be too little said on the subject." 

" La ! You are so strange ! But I must tell you how 
it went off. We were married, you know, at St. Clement's, 
because Wickham's lodgings were in that parish. And 
it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o'clock. 


( 319 ) 

My uncle and aunt and I were to go together ; and the 
others were to meet us at the church. Well, Monday 
morning came, and I was in such a fuss ! I was so afraid 
you know that something would happen to put it off, and 
then I should have gone quite distracted. And there was 
my aunt, all the time I was dressing, preaching and 
talking away just as if she was reading a sermon. How- 
ever, I did not hear above one word in ten, for I was 
thinking, you may suppose, of my dear Wickham. I longed 
to know whether he would be married in his blue coat. 

" Well, and so we breakfasted at ten as usual ; I 
thought it would never be over ; for, by the bye, you are 
to understand, that my uncle and aunt were horrid 
unpleasant all the time I was with them. If you '11 believe 
me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I was 
there a fortnight. Not one party, or scheme, or any thing. 
To be sure London was rather thin, but however the 
little Theatre was open. Well, and so just as the carriage 
came to the door, my uncle was called away upon business 
to that horrid man Mr. Stone. And then, you know, 
when once they get together, there is no end of it. Well, 
I was so frightened I did not know what to do, for my 
uncle was to give me away ; and if we were beyond the 
hour, we could not be married all day. But, luckily, he 
came back again in ten minutes time, and then we all 
set out. However, I recollected afterwards, that if he 
had been prevented going, the wedding need not .be put 41 
ofCa^for Mr. Darcy might have done a,sweH' ''*--««» 4^'^v4t- 'V^MjL/^j 

" Mr. Darcy j " repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement. Qt^iAM 

" t^Kj'^yes ! — he was to come there with Wickham, you 
know. But gracious me ! I quite forgot ! I ought not to 
have said a word about it. I promised them so faithfully ! 
What will Wickham say ? It was to be such a secret ! " 

"If it was to be secret," said Jane, "say not another 
word on the subject. You may depend upon my seeking 
no further." 

" Oh ! certainly," said Elizabeth, though burning with 
curiosity ; " we will ask you no questions." 

" Thank 

( 320 ) 

" Thank you," said Lydia, " for if you did, I should 
certainly tell you all, and then Wickham would be 

On such encouragement to ask, Elizabeth was forced 
to put it out of her power, by running away. 

But to live in ignorance on such a point was impossible ; 
or at least it was impossible not to try for information. 
Mr. Darcy had bceiL-at .. her sister's wedding. It was 
exactly a scene, and exactly among people,"where he had 
apparently least to do, and least temptation to go. Con- 
jectures as to the meaning of it, rapid and wild, hurried 
into her brain ; but she was satisfied with none. Those 
that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in the noblest 
light, seemed most improbable. She could not bear such 
suspense ; and hastily seizing a sheet of paper, ^jvTpte 
a short letter to her aunt, to request an explanation of 
what Lydia had dropt, if it were compatible with the 
secrecy which had been intended. 

" You may readily comprehend," she added, " what my 
curiosity must be to know how a person unconnected with 
any of us, and (comparatively speaking) a stranger to our 
family, should have been amongst you at such a time. 
Pray write instantly, and let me understand it — unless it 
is, for very co^nt reasons, to remain in the secrecy which 
Lydia seems to think necessary ; and then I must endea- 
vour to be satisfied with ignorance." 

"Not that I shall though," she added to herself, as 
she finished the letter ; " and my dear aunt, if you do 
not tell me in an honourable manner, I shall certainly 
be reduced to tricks and stratagems to find it out." 

Jane's delicate sense of honour would not allow her to 
speak to Elizabeth privately of what Lydia had let fall ; 
Elizabeth was glad of it ; — till it appeared whether her 
inquiries would receive any satisfaction, she had rather 
be without a confidante. 


( sn 


Elizabeth had the satisfa^ction of receiving an answer 
to her letter, as soon as she possibly could. She was no 
sooner in possession of it, than hurrying into the little 
copse, where she was least likely to be interrupted, she 
sat down on one of the benches, and prepared to be happy ; 
for the length of the letter convinced her that it did not 
contain a denial. 

" Gracechurch-street, Sept. 6. 
" My dear niece, 

" I have just received your letter, and shall devote this 
whole morning to answering it, as I foresee that a little 
writing will not comprise what I have to tell you. I must 
confess myself surprised by your application ; I did not 
expect it from you. Don't think me angry, however, for I 
only mean to let you know, that I had not imagined such 
enquiries to be necessary on your side. If you do not 
choose to understand me, forgive my impertinence. Your 
uncle is as much surprised as I am — and nothing but the 
belief of your being a party concerned, would have allowed 
him to act as he has done. But if you are really innocent 
and ignorant, I must be more explicit. On the very day 
of my coming home from Longboum, your uncle had a 
most unexpected visitor. Mju,J^MCJMS^hd* and^was shut 
up with him several hours. It was all over before I arrived ; 
so my curiosity was not so dreadfully racked as your^s 
seems to have been. He came to tell Mr. Gardiner that 
he had found out where your sister and Mr. Wickham were, 
and that he had seen and talked with them both, Wickham 
repeatedly, Lydia once. From what I can collect, he left 
Derbyshire only one day after ourselves, and came to 
town with the resolution of hunting for them. The motive 
professed, was his conviction of its being owing to himself 
that Wickham's worthlessness had not been so well known, 

P- p- Y as 

( 322 ) 

as to make it impossible for any young woman of character, 
to love or confide in him. He generously imputed the 
whole to his mistaken pride, and confessed that he 
had before thought it beneath him, to lay his private 
actions open to the world. His character was to speak 
for itself. He called it, therefore, his duty to step 
forward, and endeavour to remedy an evil, which had 
been brought on by himself. If he had another motive, 
I am sure it would never disgrace him. He had 
been some days in town, before he was able to discover 
them ; but he had something to direct his search, which 
was more than we had ; and the consciousness of this, 
was another reason for his resolving to follow us. There 
is a lady, it seems, a Mrs. Younge, who was some 
time ago governess to Miss Darcy, and was dismissed 
from her charge on some cause of disapprobation, though 
he did not say what. She then took a large house in 
Edward-street, and has since maintained herself by letting 
lodgings. This Mrs. Younge was, he knew, intimately 
acquainted with Wickham ; and he went to her for intel- 
ligence of him, as soon as he got to town. But it was 
two or three days before he could get from her what he 
wanted. She would not betray her trust, I suppose, 
without bribery and corruption, for she really did know 
where her friend was to be found. Wickham indeed had 
gone to her, on their first arrival in London, and had she 
been able to receive them into her house, they would 
have taken up their abode with her. At length, however, 
our kind friend procured the wished-for direction. They 

were in street. He saw Wickham, and afterwards 

insisted on seeing Lydia. His first object with her, he 
acknowledged, had been to persuade her to quit her 
present disgraceful situation, and return to her friends as 
soon as they could be prevailed on to receive her, offering 
his assistance, as far as it would go. But he found Lydia 
absolutely resolved on remaining where she was. She 
cared for none of her friends, she wanted no help of his, 
3he would not hear of leaving Wickham. She was sure 


( 323 ) 

they should be married some time or other, and it did 
not much signify when. Since such were her feehngs, 
it only remained, he thought, to secure and expedite 
a marriage, which, in his very first conversation with 
Wickham, he easily learnt, had never been his design. 
He^confessed_lTO^^lf obliged to leave, the regiment, on 
account oFsome debts of honour, which were very pressing ; 
and~scruplcd not'to lay all the ill-consequences of Lydia's 
fli^rt;- on her own folly alone. He meant to resign his 
commission immediately ; and as to his future situation, 
he could conjecture very little about it. He must go 
somewhere, but he did not know where, and he knew he 
should have nothing to live on. Mr. Darcy asked hini 
why he had. jjyQA JQai9-rried your sister at once. Though 
MrT'Bennet was not imagined to be very rich, he would 
have-"beien able to do something for him, and his situation 
must have been benefited by marriage. But he found, 
in reply to this question, that Wickham still cherished 
the hope of more effectually making his fortune by mar- 
riage, in some other country. Under such circumstances, 
however, he was not likely to be proof against fhe tempta- 
tion of immediate relief. They met several times, for 
there was much to be discussed. Wickham of course 
wanted more than he could get ; but at length was 
reduced to be reasonable. Every thing being settled 
between therUy Mr. Darcy' s next step was to make your 
uncle acquainted with it, and he first called in Gracechurch- 
street the evening before I came home. But Mr. Gardiner 
could not be seen, and Mr. Darcy found, on further enquiry, 
that your father was still with him, but would quit town 
the next morning. He did not judge your father to be 
a person whom he could so properly consult as your uncle, 
and therefore readily postponed seeing him, till after the 
departure of the former. He did not leave his name, and 
till the next day, it was only known that a gentleman had 
called on business. On Saturday he came again. Your 
father was gone, your uncle at home, and, as I said before, 
they had a great deal of talk together. They met again on 

Y 2 Sunday, 


( 324 ) 

Sunday, and then / saw him too. It was not all settled 
before Monday : as soon as it was, the express was sent 
off to Longbourn. But our visitor was very obstinate. 
I fancy, Lizzy, that obstinacy is the real defect of his 
character after all. He has been accused of many faults 
at different times ; but this is the true one. Nothing was 
to be done that he did not do himself ; though I am 
sure (and I do not speak it to be thanked, therefore say 
nothing about it,) your uncle would most readily have 
settled the whole. They battled it together for a long 
time, which was more than either the gentleman or lady 
concerned in it deserved. But at last your uncle was 
forced to yield, and instead of being allowed to be of use 
to his niece, was forced to put up with only having the 
probable credit of it, which went sorely against the grain ; 
and I really believe your letter this morning gave him 
great pleasure, because it required an explanation that 
would rob him of his borrowed feathers, and give the 
praise where it was due. But, Lizzy, this must go no 
farther than yourself, or Jane at most. You know pretty 
well, I suppose, what has been done for the youiig people. 
His debts are to be paid, amounting, I believe, to consider- 
ably more than a thousand pounds, another thousand in 
addition to her own settled upon her, and his commission 
purchased. The reason why all this was to be done by 
him alone, was such as I have given above. It was owing 
to him, to his reserve, and want of proper consideration, 
that Wickham's character had been so misunderstood, 
and consequently that he had been received and noticed 
as he was. Perhaps there was some truth in this ; though 
I doubt whether his reserve, or anybody'' s reserve, can be 
answerable for the event. But in spite of all this fine 
talking, my dear Lizzy, you may rest perfectly assured, 
that your uncle would never have yielded, i|^we had not 
-^ given him credit for another interest in the «,ffair. When 
all this was resolved on, he returned again to his friends, 
who were still staying at Pemberley ; but it was agreed 
that he should be in London once more when the wedding 


( 325 ) 

took place, and all money matters were then to receive 
the last finish. I believe I have now told you every 
thing. It is a relation which you tell me is to give you 
great surprise ; I hope at least it will not afford you any 
displeasure. Lydia came to us ; and Wickham had 
constant admission to the house. He was exactly what 
he had been, when I knew him in Hertfordshire ; but 
I would not tell you how little I was satisfied with her 
behaviour while she staid with us, if I had not perceived, 
by Jane's letter last Wednesday, that her conduct on 
coming home was exactly of a piece with it, and therefore 
what I now tell you, can give you no fresh pain. I talked 
to her repeatedly in the most serious manner, representing to 
her all the wickedness of what she had done, and all the 
unhappiness she had brought on her family. If she heard 
me, it was by good luck, for I am sure she did not listen. 
I was sometimes quite provoked, but then I recollected 
my dear Elizabeth and Jane, and for their sakes had 
patience with her. Mr. Darcy was punctual in his return, 
and as Lydia informed you, attended the wedding. He 
dined with us the next day, and was to leave town again 
on Wednesday or Thursday. Will you be very angry with 
me, 'my dear Lizzy, if I take this opportunity of saying 
(what I was never bold enough to say before) how much 
I like him. His behaviour to us has, in every respect, been 
as pleasing as when we were in Derbyshire. His under- 
standing and opinions all please me ; he wants nothing 
but a little more liveliness, and that, if he marry prudently, 
his wife may teach him. I thought him very sly ; — he 
hardly ever mentioned your name. But slyness seems the 
fashion. Pray forgive me, if I have been very presuming, 
or at least do not punish me so far, as to exclude me from 
P. I jhalljieyer be qm till I have been all round 

the park. A low phaeton, with a nice little pair of ponies, 
would be the very thing. But I must write no more. 
The children have been wanting me this half hour. Your's, 
very sincerely, 

" M. Gardiner." 


( 326 ) 

The contents of this letter threw Elizabeth into a flutter 
of spirits, in which it was difficult to determine whether 
pleasure or jpain bore the greatest share. The vague and 
unsettled suspicions which uncertainty had produced of 
what Mr. Darcy might have been doing to forward her 
sister's match, which she had feared to encourage, as an 
exertion of goodness too great to be probable, and at the 
same time dreaded to be just, from the pain of obligation, 
were proved beyond their greatest extent to be true ! 
He had followed them purposely to town, he had taken 
on himself all the trouble and mortification attendant on 
such a research ; in which supplication had been necessary 
to a woman whom he must abominate and despise, and 
where he was reduced to meet, frequently meet, reason 
with, persuade, and finally bribe, the man whom he always 
most wished to avoid, and whose very name it was punish- 
ment to him to pronounce. He had done all this for 
a girl whom he could neither regard nor esteem. Her 
heart did whisper, that he had done it for her. But it 
was a hope shortly checked by other considerations, and 
she soon felt that even her vanity was insufficient, when 
required to depend on his affection for her, for a woman 
who had already refused him, as able to overcome a senti- 
ment so natural as abhorrence against relationship with 
Wickham. Brother-in-law of Wickham ! Every kind of 
pride must revolt from the connection. He had to be sure 
done much. She was ashamed to think how much. But 
he had given a reason for his interference, which asked 
no extraordinary stretch of belief. It was reasonable that 
he should feel he had been wrong ; he had liberality, and 
he had the means of exercising it ; and though she would 
not place herself as his principal inducement, she could, 
perhaps, believe, that remaining partiality for her, might 
assist his endeavours in a cause where her peace of mind 
must be materially concerned. It was painful, exceed- 
ingly painful, to know that they were under obligations 
to a person who could never receive a return. They owed 
the restoration of Lydia, her character, every thing to 



( 327 ) 

him. Oh ! how heartily did she grieve over every un- 
gracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every saucy 
speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself 
she was humbled ; but she was proud of him. Proud that 
in a cause of compassion and honour, he had been able 
to get the better of himself. She read over her aunt's 
commendation of him agaih and again. It was hardly 
enough ; but it pleased her. She was even sensible of 
some pleasure, though mixed with regret, on finding how 
steadfastly both she and her uncle had been persuaded 
that affection and confidence subsisted between Mr. Darcy 
and herself. 

She was roused from her seat, and her reflections, by 
some one's approach ; and before she could strike into 
another path, she was overtaken by Wickham. 

" I am afraid I interrupt your solitary ramble, my dear 
sister ? " said he, as he joined her. 

" You certainly do," she repHed with a smile ; " but 
it does not follow that the interruption must be unwel- 

" I should be sorry indeed, if it were. We were always 
good friends ; and now we are better." 

".True. Are the others coming out ? " 

" I do not know. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are going in 
the carriage to Meryton. And so, my dear sister, I find 
from our uncle and aunt, that you have actually seen 

She replied in the affirmative. 

" I almost envy you the pleasure, and yet I believe 
it would be too much for me, or else I could take it in my 
way to Newcastle. And you saw the old housekeeper, 
I suppose ? Poor Reynolds, she was always very fond of 
me. But of course she did not mention my name to you." 

■ Yes, she did." 
And what did she say ? " 

t you were gone into the army, and she was 
afraidliad — not turned out well. At such a distance as 
that, you know, things are strangely misrepresented." 

" Certainly," 

( 328 ) 

" Certainly," he replied, biting his lips. Elizabeth 
hoped she had silenced him ; but he soon afterwards 

" I was surprised to see Darcy in town last month. We 
passed" eacETotlief" several times. I wonder what he can 
M^(5^ be doing there." 

* *' Perhaps preparing for his marriage with Miss de 

Bourgh," said EHzabeth. "It must be something par- 
ticular, to take him there at this time of year." 

" Undoubtedly. Did you see him while you were at 
Lambton ? I thought I understood from the Gardiners 
that you had." 

" Yes ; he introduced us to his sister." 
" And do you Hke her ? " 
" Very much." 

" I have heard, indeed, that she is uncommonly im- 
proved within this year or two. When I last saw her, she 
V/\/6"^ was not very promising. I am very glad you liked her. 
r-- I hope she will turn out well." 

" I dare say she will ; she has got over the most trying 

" Did you go by the village of Kympton ? " 
" I do not recollect that we did." 

" I mention it, because it is the living which I ought to 
have had. A most delightful place ! — Excellent Parson- 
/v age House ! It would have suited me in every respect." 

i jLx'h-^''^-^ " "^^ should you have liked making. sermons ? " 
/y^^ I " Exceedingly well. I should have considered it as part 
of my duty, and the exertion would soon have been 
nothing. One ought not to repine ; — but, to be sure, it 
would have been such a thing for me ! The quiet, the 
retirement of such a life, would have answered all my 
ideas of happiness ! But it was not to be. Did you ever 
hear Darcy mention the circumstance, when you were in 
Kent ? " 

*' I have heard from authority, which I thought as good, 
that it was left you conditionally only, and at the will 
of the present patron." 


( 329 ) 

" You have. Yes, there was something in that ; I told 
you so from the first, you may remember." 

" I did hear, too, that there was a time, when sermon- 
making was not so palatable to you as it seems to be at 
present ; that you actually declared your resolution of 
never taking orders, and that the business had been 
compromised accordingly." 

" You did ! and it was not wholly without foundation. 
You may remember what I told you on that point, when 
first we talked of it." 

They were now almost at the door of the house, for 
she had walked fast to get rid of him ; and unwilling for 
her sister's sake, to provoke him, she only said in reply, 
with a good-humoured smile, 

" Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sister, you 
know. Do not let us quarrel about the past. In future, 
I hope we shall be always of one mind." 

She held out her hand ; he kissed it with affectionate 
gallantry, though he hardly knew how to look, and they 
entered the house. 



Mr. Wickham was so perfectly satisfied with this con- 
versation, that he never again distressed himself, or 
provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, by introducing the 
subject of it ; and she was pleased to find that she had 
said enough to keep him quiet. 

The day of his and Lydia's departure soon came, and 
Mrs. Bennet was forced to submit to a separation, which, 
as her husband by no means entered into her scheme of 
their all going to Newcastle, was likely to continue at 
least a twelvemonth. 

" Oh ! my dear Lydia," she cried, " when shall we meet 
again ? " 

" Oh, lord ! I don't know. Not these two or three 
years perhaps." 

" Write to me very often, my dear." 

" As often as I can. But you know married women 
have never much time for writing. My sisters may write 
to me. They will have nothing else to do." 

Mr. Wickham's adieus were much more affectionate than 
his wife's. He smiled, looked handsome, and said many 
pretty things. 

" He is as fine a fellow," said Mr. Bennel, as soon as 
they were out of the house, " as ever I saw. He simpers, 
and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously 
proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself, 
to produce a more valuable son-in-law." 

The loss of her daughter made Mrs. Bennet very dull 
for several days. 

" I often think," said she, " that there is nothing so 
bad as parting with one's friends. One seems so forlorn 
without them." 

" This is the consequence you see. Madam, of marrying 
a daughter," said Elizabeth. " It must make you better 
satisfied that your other four are single." 


( 331 ) 

" It is no such thing. Lydia does not leave me because 
she is married ; but only because her husband's regiment 
happens to be so far off. If that had been nearer, she 
would not have gone so soon." 

But the spiritless condition which this event threw her 
into, was shortly relieved, and her mind opened again to 
the agitation of hope, by ah article of news, which then 
began to be in circulation. The housekeeper at Nether- 
field had received orders to prepare for the arrival of her 
master, who was coming down in a day or two, to shoot 
there for several weeks. Mrs. Bennet was quite in the 
fidgets. She looked at Jane, and smiled, and shook her 
head by turns. 

" Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister," 
(for Mrs. Phillips first brought her the news.) " Well, so 
much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He 
is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want 
to see him again. But, however, he is very welcome to 
come to Netherfield, if he likes it. And who knows what 
7nay happen ? But that is nothing to us. You know, 
sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about 
it. And so, is it quite certain he is coming ? " 

".You may depend on it," replied the other, " for 
Mrs. NichoUs was in Meryton last night ; I saw her 
passing by, and went out myself on purpose to know the 
truth of it ; and she told me that it was certain true. 
He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very likely 
on Wednesday. She was going to the butcher's, she told 
me, on purpose to order in some meat on Wednesday, and 
she has got three couple of ducks, just fit to be killed." 

Miss Bennet had not been able to hear of his coming, 
without changing colour. It was many months since she 
had mentioned his name to Elizabeth ; but now, as soon 
as they were alone together, she said, 

" I saw you look at me to day, Lizzy, when my aunt 
told us of the present report ; and I know I appeared 
distressed. But don't imagine it was from any silly cause. 
I was only confused for the moment, because I felt that 


( 332 ) 

I should be looked at. I do assure you, that the news does 
not affect me either with pleasure or pain. I am glad 
of one thing, that he comes alone ; because we shall see 
the less of him. Not that I am afraid of myself, but I dread 
other people's remarks." 

Elizabeth did not know what to make of it. Had she 
not seen him in Derbyshire, she might have supposed him 
capable of coming there, with no other view than what 
was acknowledged ; but she still thought him partial to 
Jane, and she wavered as to the greater probability of 
his coming there with his friend's permission, or being bold 
enough to come without it. 

" Yet it is hard," she sometimes thought, " that this 
poor man cannot come to a house, which he has legally 
hired, without raising all this speculation ! I will leave him 
to himself." 

In spite of what her sister declared, and really believed 
to be her feelings, in the expectation of his arrival, Eliza- 
beth could easily perceive that her spirits were affected 
by it. They were more disturbed, more unequal, than she 
had often seen them. 

The subject which had been so warmly canvassed 
between their parents, about a twelvemonth ago, was now 
brought forward again. 

" As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear," said 
Mrs. Bennet, " you will wait on him of course." 

" No, no. You forced me into visiting him last year, 
and promised if I went to see him, he should marry one 
of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will 
not be sent on a fool's errand again." 

His wife represented to him how absolutely necessary 
such an attention would be from all the neighbouring 
gentlemen, on his returning to Netherfield. 

" 'Tis an etiquette I despise," said he. "If he wants 
our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. 
I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours 
every time they go away, and come back again." 

" Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude 



( 333 ) 

if you do not wait on him. But, however, that shan't 
prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. 
We must have Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. That 
will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just 
room at table for him." 

Consoled by this resolution, she was the better able to 
bear her husband's incivility; though it was very mortify- 
ing to know that her neighbours might all see Mr. Bingley 
in consequence of it, before they did. As the day of his 
arrival drew near, 

" I begin to be sorry that he comes at all," said Jane 
to her sister. " It would be nothing ; I could see him 
with perfect indifference, but I can hardly bear to hear 
it thus perpetually talked of. My mother means well ; 
but she does not know, no one can know how much 
I suffer from what she says. Happy shall I be, when his 
stay at Netherfield is over ! " 

" I wish I could say any thing to comfort you," replied 
Elizabeth ; " but it is wholly out of my power. You 
must feel it ; and the usual satisfaction of preaching 
patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have 
always so much." 

Mr. Bingley ariisted. Mrs. Bennet, through the assis- 
tance oT servants, contrived to have the earliest tidings 
of it, that the period of anxiety and fretfulness on her 
side, might be as long as it could. She counted the days 
that must intervene before their invitation could be sent ; 
hopeless of seeing him before. But on the third morning 
after his arrival in Hertfordshire, she saw him from her 
dressing-room window, enter the paddock, and ride to- 
wards the house. 

Her daughters were eagerly called to partake of her joy. 
Jane resolutely kept her place at the table ; but Elizabeth, 
to satisfy her mother, went to the window — she looked, — • 
she saw Mr. Darcy with him, and sat down again by her 

" There is a gentleman with him, mamma," said Kitty ; 
" who can it be ? " 


( 334 ) 

" Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose ; 
I am sure I do not know." 

" La ! " replied Kitty, " it looks just like that man that 
used to be with him before. Mr. what's his name. That 
tall, proud man." 

' Good gracious ! Mr. Darcy ! — and so it does I v6w. 
Well, any friend of Mr. Bingley's will always be welcome 
here to be sure ; but else I must say that I hate the very 
sight of him." 

Jane looked at Elizabeth with surprise and concern. 
She knew but little of their meeting in Derbyshire, and 
therefore felt for the awkwardness which must attend 
her sister, in seeing him almost for the first time after 
receiving his explanatory letter. Both sisters were uncom- 
fortable enough. Each felt for the other, and of course 
for themselves ; and their mother talked on, of her dislike 
of Mr. Darcy, and her resolution to be civil to him only 
as Mr. Bingley's friend, without being heard by either of 
them. But Elizabeth had sources of uneasiness which 
could not be suspected by Jane, to whom she had never 
yet had courage to shew Mrs. Gardiner's letter, or to 
relate her own change of sentiment towards him. To 
Jane, he could be only a man whose proposals she had 
refused, and whose merit she had undervalued ; but to 
her own more extensive information, he was t;he person, 
to whom the whole family were indebted for the first of 
benefits, and whom she regarded herself with an interest, 
if not quite so tender, at least as reasonable and just, as 
what Jane felt for Bingley. Her astonishment at his 
coming — at his coming to Netherfield, to Longbourn, and 
voluntarily seeking her again, was almost equal to what 
she had known on first witnessing his altered behaviour 
in Derbyshire. 

The colour which had been driven from her face, returned 
for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile 
of delight added lustre to her eyes, as she thought for that 
space of time, that his affection and wishes must still be 
unshaken. But she would not be secure. 



( 335 ) 

" Let me first see how he behaves," said she ; " it will 
then be early enough for expectation." 

She sat intently at work, striving to be composed, and 
without daring to lift up her eyes, till anxious curiosity 
carried them to the face of her sister, as the servant was 
approaching the door. Jane looked a little paler than 
usual, but more sedate than Elizabeth had expected. 
On the gentlemen's appearing, her colour increased ; yet 
she received them with tolerable ease, and with a pro- 
priety of behaviour equally free from any symptom of 
resentment, or any unnecessary complaisance. 

Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow, 
and sat down again to her work, with an eagerness which 
it did not often command. She had ventured only one 
glance at Darcy. He looked serious as usual ; and she 
thought, more as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, 
than as she had seen him at Pemberley. But, perhaps 
he could not in her mother's presence be what he was 
before her uncle and aunt. It was a painful, but not an 
improbable, conjecture. 

Bingley, she had likewise seen for an instant, and in 
that short period saw him looking both pleased and 
embarrassed. He was received by Mrs. Bennet with 
a degree of civility, which made her two daughters 
ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and 
ceremonious politeness of her curtsey and address to his 

Elizabeth particularly, who knew that her mother owed 
to the latter the preservation of her favourite daughter 
from irremediable infamy, was hurt and distressed to 
a most painful degree by a distinction so ill applied. 

Darcy, after enquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner 
did, a question which she could not answer without con- 
fusion, said scarcely any thing. He was not seated by her; 
perhaps that was the reason of his silence ; but it had 
not been so in Derbyshire. There he had talked to her 
friends, when he could not to herself. But now several 


( 336 ) 

minutes elapsed, without bringing the sound of his voice ; 
and when occasionally, unable to resist the impulse of 
curiosity, she raised her eyes to his face, she as often 
found him looking at Jane, as at herself, and frequently 
on no object but the ground. More thoughtfulness, and 
less anxiety to please than when they last met, were 
plainly expressed. She was disappointed, and angry with 
herself for being so. 

" Could I expect it to be otherwise ! " said she. " Yet 
why did he come ? " 

She was in no humour for conversation with any one 
but himself ; and to him she had hardly courage to speak. 

She enquired after his sister, but could do no more. 

" It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away," 
said Mrs. Bennet. 

He readily agreed to it. 

" I began to be afraid you would never come back 
again. People did say, you meant to quit the place entirely 
at Michaelmas ; but, however, I hope it is not true. 
A great many changes have happened in the neighbour- 
hood, since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and 
settled. And one of my own daughters. I suppose you 
have heard of it ; indeed, you must have seen it in the 
papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I know; 
though it was not put in as it ought to be. It was only said, 
' Lately, George Wickham, Esq. to Miss Lydia Bennet,' 
without there being a syllable said of her father, or the 
place where she lived, or any thing. It was my brother 
Gardiner's drawing up too, and I wonder how he came 
to make such an awkward business of it. Did you see it ? " 

Bingley replied that he did, and made his congratula- 
tions. Elizabeth dared not lift up her eyes. How Mr. 
Darcy looked, therefore, she could not tell. 

" It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter 
well married," continued her mother, " but at the same 
time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken such 
a way from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place 
quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay. 

( 337 ) 

I do not know how long. His regiment is there ; for I 

suppose you have heard of his leaving the shire, and 

of his being gone into the regulars. Thank Heaven ! he 
has some friends, though perhaps not so many as he 

Elizabeth, who knew this to be levelled at Mr. Darcy, 
was in such misery of shame, that she could hardly keep 
her seat. It drew from her, however, the exertion of 
speaking, which nothing else had so effectually done 
before ; and she asked Bingley, whether he meant to 
make any stay in the country at present. A few weeks, 
he believed. 

" When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley," 
said her mother, " I beg you will come here, and shoot 
as many as you please, on Mr. Bennet's manor. I am 
sure he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save 
all the best of the covies for you." 

Elizabeth's misery increased, at such unnecessary, such 
officious attention ! Were the same fair prospect to arise 
at present, as had flattered them a year ago, every thing, 
she was persuaded, would be hastening to the same 
vexatious conclusion. At that instant she felt, that years 
of happiness could not make Jane or herself amends, for 
moments of such painful confusion. 

" The first wish of my heart," said she to herself, " is 
never more to be in company with either of them. Their 
society can afford no pleasure, that will atone for such 
wretchedness as this ! Let me never see either one or the 
other again ! " 

Yet the misery, for which years of happiness were to 
offer no compensation, received soon afterwards material 
relief, from observing how much the beauty of her sister 
re-kindled the admiration of her former lover. When 
first he came in, he had spoken to her but little ; but 
every five minutes seemed to be giving her more of his 
attention. He found her as handsome as she had been 
last year ; as good natured, and as unaffected, though 
not quite so chatty. Jane was anxious that no difference 

p- P- z should 

( 338 ) 

should be perceived in her at all, and was really persuaded 
that she talked as much as ever. But her mind was so 
busily engaged, that she did not always know when she 
was silent. 

When the gentlemen rose to go away, Mrs. Bennet was 
mmdful of her intended civility, and they were invited 
and engaged to dine at Longbourn in a few days time. 

" You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley," she 
added, " for when you went to town last winter, you 
promised to take a family dinner with us, as soon as you 
returned. I have not forgot, you see ; and I assure you, 
I was very much disappointed that you did not come back 
and keep your engagement." 

Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said 
something of his concern, at having been prevented by 
business. They then went away. 

Mrs Bennet had been strongly inclined to ask them to 
stay and dine there, that day ; but, though she always 
kept a very good table, she did not think any thing less 
than two courses, could be good enough for a man, on 
whom she had such anxious designs, or satisfy the appetite 
and TOde of one who had ten thousand a-year. 



As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out to 
recover her spirits ; or in other words, to dwell without 
interruption on those subjects that must deaden them 
more. Mr. Darcy's behaviour astonished and vexed her. 

" Why, if he came only to be silent, grave, and in- 
different," said she, " did he come at all ? " 

She could settle it in no way that gave her pleasure. 

" He could be still amiable, still pleasing, to my uncle 
and aunt, when he was in town ; and why not to me ? 
If he fears me, why come hither ? |f he no longer cares 
for me, why silent ? Teazing, tcazing, man ! I will think 
no more about him." 

Her resolution was for a short time involuntarily kept 
by the approach of her sister, who joined her with a cheer- 
ful look, which shewed her better satisfied with their 
visitors, than Elizabeth. 

" Now," said she, " that this first meeting is over, I feel 
perfectly easy. I know my own strength, and I shall never 
be embarrassed again by his coming. I am glad he dines 
here on Tuesday. It will then be publicly seen, that on 
both sides, we meet only as common and indifferent 

" Yes, very indifferent indeed," said Elizabeth, laugh- 
ingly. " Oh, Jane, take care." 

" My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak, as to 
be in danger now." 

" I think you are in very great danger of making him 
as much in love with you as ever." 

They did not see the gentlemen again till Tuesday ; 
and Mrs. Bennet, in the meanwhile, was giving way to all 
the happy schemes, which the good humour, and common 
politeness of Bingley, in half an hour's visit, had revived. 

z 2 On 

( 340 ) 

On Tuesday there was a large party assembled at Long- 
bourn ; and the two, who were most anxiously expected, 
to the credit of their punctuality as sportsmen, were in 
very good time. When they repaired to the dining- 
room, Elizabeth eagerly watched to see whether Bingley 
would take the place, which, in all their former parties, 
had belonged to him, by her sister. Her prudent mother, 
occupied by the same ideas, forbore to invite him to sit 
by herself. On entering the room, he seemed to hesitate ; 
but Jane happened to look round, and happened to smile : 
it was decided. He placed himself by her. 

Elizabeth, with a triumphant sensation, looked towards 
his friend. He bore it with noble indifference, and she 
would have imagined that Bingley had received his 
sanction to be happy, had she not seen his eyes likewise 
turned towards Mr. Darcy, with an expression of half- 
laughing alarm. 

His behaviour to her sister was such, during dinner 
time, as shewed an admiration of her, which, though more 
guarded than formerly, persuaded Elizabeth, that if left 
wholly to himself, Jane's happiness, and his own, would 
be speedily secured. Though she dared not depend upon 
the consequence, she yet received pleasure from observing 
his behaviour. It gave her all the animation that her 
spirits could boast ; for she was in no cheerful humour. 
Mr. Darcy was almost as far from her, as the table could 
divide them. He was on one side of her mother. She 
knew how little such a situation would give pleasure to 
either, or make either appear to advantage. She was not 
near enough to hear any of their discourse, but she could 
see how seldom they spoke to each other, and how formal 
and cold was their manner, whenever they did. Her 
mother's ungraciousness, made the sense of what they 
owed him more painful to Elizabeth's mind ; and she 
would, at times, have given any thing to be privileged to 
tell him, that his kindness was neither unknown nor unfelt 
by the whole of the family. 

She was in hopes that the evening would afford some 



( 341 ) 

opportunity of bringing them together; that the whole 
of the visit would not pass away without enabling them 
to enter into something more of conversation, than the 
mere ceremonious salutation attending his entrance. 
Anxious and uneasy, the period which passed in the 
drawing-room, before the gentlemen came, was wearisome 
and dull to a degree, that almost made her uncivil. She 
looked forward to their entrance, as the point on 
which all her chance of pleasure for the evening must 

"If he does not come to me, iheUy'' said she, " I shall 
give him up for ever." 

The gentlemen came ; and she thought he looked as 
if he would have answered her hopes ; but, alas ! the 
ladies had crowded round the table, where Miss Bennet 
was making tea, and Elizabeth pouring out the coffee, in 
so close a confederacy, that there was not a single vacancy 
near her, which would admit of a chair. And on the 
gentlemen's approaching, one of the girls moved closer 
to her than ever, and said, in a whisper, 

" The men shan't come and part us, I am determined. 
We want none of them ; do we ? " 

Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. ^ 
Shf^ jpllowed him w ithher eygs^jeayiedjsyaai:.xma>ta-whom ($lj&-A-x f 
he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to jh^lp^riybj^dy .^^ a^ -/I 
to coffee ; and then was enraged against herself for being * ^^.-m. 

so silly ! V^ ^Aln 

*'Amanj$jia.ha&^^icHbieen refused ! How could L^¥€r 
be fooHsH^ough to expect a renewal of his love ? Is there 
one among the sex, who would not protest against such 
a weakness as a second proposal to the same woman? 
There is no indignity so abhorrent to their feelings 1'*" 

She was a little revived, however, by his bringing back 
his coffee cup himself ; and she seized the opportunity 
of saying, 

" Is your sister at Pemberley still ? " 

" Yes, she will remain there till Christmas." 

" And quite alone ? Have all her friends left her ? " 


( 342 ) 

" Mrs. Annesley is with her. The others have been gone 
on to Scarborough, these three weeks." 

She could think of nothing more to say ; but if he 
wished to converse with her, he might have better success. 
He stood by her, however, for some minutes, in silence ; 
and, at last, on the young lady's whispering to Elizabeth 
again, he walked away. 

When the tea-things were removed, and the card tables 
placed, the ladies all rose, and Elizabeth was then hoping 
to be soon joined by him, when all her views were over- 
thrown, by seeing him fall a victim to her mother's rapacity 
for whist players, and in a few moments after seated with 
the rest of the party. She now lost every expectation of 
pleasure. They were confined for the evening at different 
tables, and she had nothing to hope, but that his eyes 
were so often turned towards her side of the room, as to 
make him play as unsuccessfully as herself. 

Mrs. Bennet had designed to keep the two Netherfield 
gentlemen to supper ; but their carriage was unluckily 
ordered before any of the others, and she had no oppor- 
tunity of detaining them. 

" Well girls," said she, as soon as they were left to 
themselves, " What say you to the day ? I think every 
thing has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. The 
dinner was as well dressed as any I ever saw. The venison 
was roasted to a turn — and everybody said, they never 
saw so fat a haunch. The soup was fifty times better 
than what we had at the Lucas's last week ; and even 
Mr. Darcy acknowledged, that the partridges were remark- 
ably well done ; and I suppose he has two or three French 
cooks at least. And, my dear Jane, I never saw you look 
in greater beauty. Mrs. Long said so too, for I asked her 
whether you did not. And what do you think she said 
besides ? ' Ah ! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her at Nether- 
field at last.' She did indeed. I do think Mrs. Long is 
as good a creature as ever lived — and her nieces are very 
pretty behaved girls, and not at all handsome : I like 
them prodigiously." 





( 343 ) 

Mrs. Bennet, in short, was in very great spirits ; she 
had seen enough of Bingley's behaviour to Jane, to be 
convinced that she would get him at last ; and her expec- 
tations of advantage to her family, when in a happy 
humour, were so far beyond reason, that she was quite 
disappointed at not seeing him there again the next day, 
to make his proposals. 

" It has been a very agreeable day," said Miss Bennet 
to Elizabeth. " The party seemed so well selected, so 
suitable one with the other. I hope we may often meet 

Elizabeth smiled. 

" Lizzy, you must not do so. You must not suspect 
me. It mortifies me. I assure you that I have now learnt 
to enjoy his conversation as an agreeable and sensible 
young man, without having a wish beyond it. I am perfectly 
satisfied from what his manners now are, that he never 
had any design of engaging my affection. It is only that 
he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, and a 
stronger desire of generally pleasing than any other man." 

" You are very cruel," said her sister, " you will not 
let me smile, and are provoking me to it every moment." 

'\How hard it is in some cases to be believed ! " 

" And how impossible in others ! " 

" But why should you wish to persuade me that I feel 
more than I acknowledge ? " 

" That is a question which I hardly know how to answer. 
We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what 
is not worth knowing. Forgive me ; and if you persist 
in indifference, do not maEe mip yotir colilidaiite.'' 


( 344 ) 


A FEW days after this visit, Mr. Bingley called again, 
and alone. His friend had left him that morning for 
London, but was to return home in ten days time. He 
sat with them above an hour, and was in remarkably good 
spirits. Mrs. Bennet invited him to dine with them ; but, 
with many expressions of concern, he confessed himself 
engaged elsewhere. 

" Next time you call," said she, " I hope we shall be 
more lucky." 

He should be particularly happy at any time, &c. &c. ; 
and if she would give him leave, would take an early 
opportunity of waiting on them. 

" Can you come to-morrow ? " 

Yes, he had no engagement at all for to-morrow ; and 
her invitation was accepted with alacrity. 

He came, and in such very good time, that the ladies 
were none of them dressed. In ran Mrs. Bennet to her 
daughter's room, in her dressing gown, and with her hair 
half finished, crying out, 

" My dear Jane, make haste and hurry down. He is 
come — Mr. Bingley is come. — :He is, indeed. Make haste, 
make haste. Here, Sarah, come to Miss Bennet this 
moment, and help her on with her gown. Never mind 
Miss Lizzy's hair." 

" We will be down as soon as we can," said Jane ; 
" but I dare say Kitty is forwarder than either of us, for 
she went up stairs half an hour ago." 

" Oh ! hang Kitty ! what has she to do with it ? Come 
be quick, be quick ! where is your sash my dear ? " 

But when her mother was gone, Jane would not be 
prevailed on to go down without one of her sisters. 

The same anxiety to get them by themselves, was 
visible again in the evening. After tea, Mr. Bennet retired 
to the library, as was his custom, and Mary went up stairs 


( 345 ) 

to her instrument. Two obstacles of the five being thus 
removed, Mrs. Bennet sat looking and winking at Elizabeth 
and Catherine for a considerable time, without making 
any impression on them. Elizabeth would not observe 
her; and when at last Kitty did, she very innocently 
said, " What is the matter mamma ? What do you keep 
winking at me for ? What am I to do ? " 

" Nothing child, nothing. I did not wink at you." 
She then sat still five minutes longer; but unable to 
waste such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and 
saying to Kitty, 

" Come here, my love, I want to speak to you," took 
her out of the room. Jane instantly gave a look at Eliza- 
beth, which spoke her distress at such premeditation, and 
her intreaty that she would not give into it. In a few 
minutes, Mrs. Bennet half opened the door and called out, 

" Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you." 

Elizabeth was forced to go. 

" We may as well leave them by themselves you 
know ; " said her mother as soon as she' was in the hall. 
"Kitty and I are going upstairs to sit in my dressing room." 

Elizabeth made no attempt to reason with her mother, 
but remained quietly in the hall, till she and Kitty were 
out of sight, then returned into the drawing room. 

Mrs. Bennet's schemes for this day were ineffectual. 
Bingley was every thing that was charming, except the 
professed lover of her daughter. His ease and cheerfulness 
rendered him a most agreeable addition to their evening 
party ; and he bore with the ill-judged officiousness of 
the mother, and heard all her silly remarks with a for- 
bearance and command of countenance, particularly 
grateful to the daughter. 

He scarcely needed an invitation to stay supp^ ; and 
before he went away, an engagement was formed, chiefly 
through his own and Mrs. Bennet's means, for his coming 
next morning to shoot with her husband. 

After this day, Jane said no more of her indifference. 
Not a word passed between the sisters concerning Bingley ; 


( 346 ) 

but Elizabeth went to bed in the happy beUef that all 
must speedily be concluded, unless Mr. Darcy returned 
within the stated time. Seriously, however, she felt 
tolerably persuaded that all this must have taken place 
with that gentleman's concurrence. 

Bingley was punctual to his appointment ; and he and 
Mr. Bennet spent the morning together, as had been agreed 
on. The latter was much more agreeable than his com- 
panion expected. There was nothing of presumption or 
folly in Bingley, that could provoke his ridicule, or disgust 
him into silence ; and he was more communicative, and 
less eccentric than the other had ever seen him. Bingley 
of course returned with him to dinner ; and in the evening 
Mrs. Bennet's invention was again at work to get every 
body away from him and her daughter. Elizabeth, who 
had a letter to write, went into the breakfast room for 
that purpose soon after tea ; for as the others were all 
going to sit down to cards, she could not be wanted to 
counteract her mother's schemes. 

But on returning to the drawing room, when her letter 
was finished, she saw, to her infinite surprise, there was 
reason to fear that her mother had been too ingenious for 
her. On opening the door, she perceived her sister and 
Bingley standing together over the hearth, as if engaged in 
earnest conversation ; and had this led to no suspicion, 
the faces of both as they hastily turned round, and moved 
away from each other, would have told it all. Their 
situation was awkward enough ; but her^s she thought was 
still worse. Not a syllable was uttered by either ; and Eliza- 
beth was on the point of going away again, when Bingley, 
who as well as the other had sat down, suddenly rose, and 
whispering a few words to her sister, ran out of the room. 

Jane could have no reserves from Elizabeth, where 
confidence would give pleasure ; and instantly embracing 
her, acknowledged, with the liveliest emotion, that she 
was the happiest creature in the world. 

" 'Tis-toe^JMichJL''. sh^ added^„"i^y-iar.i.QQ4aucil% ^ ^^ 
not deserve it* Qh I why is not every body as happy? '* 

"^ '"""-— ^- Elizabeth's 

( 847 ) 

Elizabeth's congratulations were given with a sincerity, 
a warmth, a delight, which words could but poorly express. 
Every sentence of kindness was a fresh source of happiness 
to Jane. But she would not allow herself to stay with her 
sister, or say half that remained to be said, for the present. 

" I must go instantly to my mother ; " she cried. 
" I would not on any account trifle with her affectionate 
solicitude ; or allow her to hear it from any one but myself. 
He is gone to my father already. Oh ! Lizzy, to know 
that what I have to relate will give such pleasure to all 
my dear family ! how shall I bear so much happiness ! " 

She then hastened away to her mother, who had pur- 
posely broken up the card party, and was sitting up stairs 
with Kitty. 

Elizabeth, who was left by herself, now smiled at the 
rapidity and ease with which an affair was finally settled, 
that had given them so many previous months of suspense 
and vexation. 

"And this," said she, " is the end of all his friend's 
anxious circumspection ! of all his sister's falsehood 
and contrivance ! the happiest, wisest, most reasonable 
^hd!" ■ ■ ' ~ 

*^" In. a few minutes she was joined by Bingley, whose 
conference with her father had been short and to the 

" Where is your sister ? " said he hastily, as he opened 
the door. 

" With my mother up stairs. She will be down in a 
moment I dare say." 

He then shut the door, and coming up to her, claimed 
the good wishes and affection of a sister. Elizabeth 
honestly and heartily expressed her delight in the prospect 
of their relationship. They shook hands with great 
cordiality ; and then till her sister came down, she had 
to listen to all he had to say, of his own happiness, and 
of Jane's perfections ; and in spite of his being a lover, 
Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity, 
to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the 



( 348 ) 

excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition 
of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste 
between her and himself. 

It was an evening of no common delight to them all ; 
the satisfaction of Miss Bennet's mind gave a glow of 
such sweet animation to her face, as made her look hand- ! 
somer than ever. Kitty simpered and smiled, and hoped 
her turn was coming soon. Mrs. Bennet could not give: 
her consent, or speak her approbation in terms warm 
enough to satisfy her feelings, though she talked to Bingley 
of nothing else, for half an hour; and when Mr. Bennet 
joined them at supper, his voice and manner plainly 
shewed how really happy he was. 

Not a word, however, passed his lips in allusion to it, 
till their visitor took his leave for the night ; but as soon 
as he was gone, he turned to his daughter and said, 

" Jane, I congratulate you. You will be a very happy 

Jane went to him instantly, kissed him, and thanked 
him for his goodness. 

" You are a good girl ; " he rephed, " and I have great 
pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I have 
not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your 
tempers are by no means unlike. You are e ach of you so 
complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so 
easy, that every servant will cheat you ; and so gehefous, 
that you will always.exceed your income." 

" I hope not so. Imprudence or thoughtlessness in 
money matters, would be unpardonable in me." 

" Exceed their income ! My dear Mr. Bennet," cried 
his wife, " what are you talking of ? Why, he has four 
or five thousand a-year, and very likely more." Then 
addressing her daughter, " Oh ! my dear, dear Jane, I am 
so happy ! I am sure I sha'nt get a wink of sleep all night. 
I knew how it would be. I always said it must be so, 
at last. I was sure you could not be so beautiful for 
nothing ! I remember, as soon as ever I saw him, when 
he first came into Hertfordshire last year, I thought how 


( 349 ) 

likely it was that you should come together. Oh ! he is 
the handsomest young man that ever was seen ! " 

Wickham, Lydia, were all forgotten. Jane was beyond 
competition her favourite child. At that moment, she 
cared for no other. Her yoimger sisters soon began to 
make interest with her for objects of happiness which she 
might in future be able to dispense. 

Mary petitioned for the use of the library at Netherfield ; 
and Kitty begged very hard for a few balls there every 

Bingley, from this time, was of course a daily visitor 
at Longbourn ; coming frequently before breakfast, and 
always remaining till after supper ; unless when some 
barbarous neighbour, who could not be enough detested, 
had given him an invitation to dinner, which he thought 
himself obliged to accept. 

Elizabeth had now but little time for conversation with 
her sister ; for while he was present, Jane had no attention 
to bestow on any one else ; but she found herself con- 
siderably useful to both of them, in those hours of separa- 
tion that must sometimes occur. In the absence of Jane, 
he always attached himself to Elizabeth, for the pleasure 
of talking of her ; and when Bingley was gone, Jane 
constantly sought the same means of relief. 

" He has made me so happy," said she, one evening, 
" by telling me, that he was totally ignorant of my 
being in town last spring ! I had not believed it 

" I suspected as much," replied Elizabeth. " But how 
did he account for it ? " 

" It must have been his sister's doing. They were 
certainly no friends to his acquaintance with me, which 
I cannot wonder at, since he might have chosen so much 
more advantageously in many respects. But when they 
see, as I trust they will, that their brother is happy with 
me, they will learn to be contented, and we shall be on 
good terms again ; though we can never be what we once 
were to each other." 


( 350 ) 

" That is the most unforgiving speech," said Elizabeth, 
" that I ever heard you utter. Good girl ! It would vex 
me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's 
pretended regard." 

" Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to 
town last November, he really loved me, and nothing but 
a persuasion of my being indifferent, would have prevented 
his coming down again ! " 

" He made a little mistake to be sure ; but it is to 
the credit of his modesty." 

This naturally introduced a panegyric from Jane on 
his diffidence, and the little value he put on his own good 

Elizabeth was pleased to find, that he had not betrayed 
the interference of his friend, for, though Jane had the 
most generous and forgiving heart in the world, she knew it 
was a circumstance which must prejudice her against him. 

" I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever 
existed ! " cried Jane. " Oh ! Lizzy, why am I thus 
singled from my family, and blessed above them all ! 
If I cauld-but see «/ow as...happy ! If there were but such 
ajLQther man for you ! " .»^. -.,.., 

" If you were to give me forty such men, I never could 

be so happy as you. Till I have ^y our disposition, your 

«r goodness, I never can Jiave your happiness. No, no, let 

^^^' me shift for myself ; and, perhaps, if I have very good 

luck, Ijnfmxmeet^mtb^aQth^^^ time." 

The situation of affairs in the Longbourn Tamily could 
not be long a secret. Mrs. Bennet was privileged to whisper 
it to Mrs. Philips, and she ventured, without any permission, 
to do the same by all her neighbours in Meryton. 

The Bennets were speedily pronounced to be the luckiest 
family in the world, though only a few weeks before, when 
Lydia had first run away, they had been generally proved 
to be marked out for misfortune. 


( 351 ) 



One morning, about a week after Bingley's engagement 
with Jane had been formed, as he and the females of the 
family were sitting together in the dining room, their 
attention was suddenly drawn to the window, by the 
sound of a carriage ; and they perceived a chaise and four 
driving up the lawn. It was too early in the morning for 
visitors, and besides, the equipage did not answer to that 
of any of their neighbours. The horses were post ; and 
neither the carriage, nor the livery of the servant who 
preceded it, were familiar to them. As it was certain, 
however, that somebody was coming, Bingley instantly 
prevailed on Miss Bennet to avoid the confinement of 
such an intrusion, and walk away with him into the 
shrubbery. They both set off, and the conjectures of the 
remaining three continued, though with little satisfaction, 
till the door was thrown open, and their visitor entered. 
It;^as lady Catherine de Bourgh. 

They were of course all intending to be surprised ; but 
their astonishment was beyond their expectation ; and on 
the part of Mrs. Bennet and Kitty, though she was perfectly 
unknown to them, even inferior to what Elizabeth felt. 

She entered the room with an air more than usually 
ungracious, made no other reply to Elizabeth's salutation, 
than a slight inclination of the head, and sat down without 
saying a word. Elizabeth had mentioned her name to 
her mother, on her ladyship's entrance, though no request 
of introduction had been made. 

Mrs. Bennet all amazement, though flattered by having 
a guest of such high importance, received her with the 
utmost politeness. After sitting for a moment in silence, 
she said very stiffly to Elizabeth, 

" I hope you are well. Miss Bennet. That lady I sup- 
pose is your mother." 


( 352 ) 

Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was. 

" And that I suppose is one of your sisters." 

" Yes, madam," said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak 
to a lady Catherine. " She is my youngest girl but one. 
My youngest of all, is lately married, and my eldest is 
some- where about the grounds, walking with a young man, 
who I believe will soon become a part of the family." 

" You have a very small park here," returned lady 
Catherine after a short silence. 

" It is nothing in comparison of Rosings, my lady, 
I dare say ; but I assure you it is much larger than 
Sir William Lucas's." 

" This must be a most inconvenient sitting room for 
the evening, in summer ; the windows are full west." 

Mrs. Bennet assured her that they never sat there after 
dinner ; and then added, 

" May I take the liberty of asking your ladyship 
whether you left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well." 

" Yes, very well. I saw them the night before last." 

Elizabeth now expected that she would produce a letter 
for her from Charlotte, as it seemed the only probable 
motive for her calling. But no letter appeared, and she 
was completely puzzled. 

Mrs. Bennet, with great civility, begged her ladyship 
to take some refreshment ; but Lady Catherine very 
resolutely, and not very politely, declined eating any 
thing ; and then rising up, said to Elizabeth, 

" Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of 
a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I should be 
glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your 

" Go, my dear," cried her mother, " and shew her 
ladyship about the different walks. I think she will be 
pleased with the hermitage." 

Elizabeth obeyed, and running into her own room for 
her parasol, attended her noble guest down stairs. As 
they passed through the hall, Lady Catherine opened the 
doors into the dining-parlour and drawing-room, and 


( 353 ) 

pronouncing them, after a short survey, to be decent 
looking rooms, walked on. 

Her carriage remained at the door, and Elizabeth saw 
that her waiting-woman was in it. They proceeded in 
silence along the gravel walk that led to the copse ; Eliza- 
beth was determined to make no effort for conversation 
with a woman, who was now more than usually insolent 
and disagreeable. 

" How could I ever think her like her nephew ? " said 
she, as she looked in her face. 

As soon as they entered the copse. Lady Catherine began 
in the following manner : — 

" You can be at no loss. Miss Bennet, to understand the 
reason of my journey hither. Your own heart, your own 
conscience, must tell you why I come." 

Elizabeth looked with unaffected astonishment. 

" Indeed, you are mistaken. Madam. I have not been 
at all able to account for the honour of seeing you here." 

" Miss Bennet," replied her ladyship, in an angry tone, 
" you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. 
But however insincere you may choose to be, you shall 
not find me so. My character has ever been celebrated 
for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such 
moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from it. 
A report of a most alarming nature, reached me two days 
ago. I was told, that not only your sister was on the 
point of being most advantageously married, but tliaTj/ow, 
that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, would, in all likelihood, be 
s'S'Oil afterwards united to my nephew, my own nephew, 
Mr. Darcy. Though I /mozt; it must be a scandalous 
falsehood ; though I would not injure him so much as 
to suppose the truth of it possible, I instantly resolved 
on setting off for this place, that I might make my senti- 
ments known to you." 

" If you believed it impossible to be true," said Elizabeth, 
colouring with astonishment and disdain, " I wonder you 
took the trouble of coming so far. Whafc*.*eiQuldv..5faiuL 
ladyship propose by it ? " 

pTp, A s^ At 

( 354 ) 

" At once to insist upon having such a report universally 

" Your coming to Longbourn, to see me and my family," 
said Elizabeth, coolly, " will be rather a confirmation of 
it ; if, indeed, such a report is in existence." 

" If ! do you then pretend to be ignorant of it ? Has 
it not been industriously circulated by yourselves ? Do 
you not know that such a report is spread abroad ? " 

" I never heard that it was." 

" And can you likewise declare, that there is no foun- 
dation for it ? " 

" I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your 
ladyship. You may ask questions, which / shall not choose 
to answer." 

" This is not to be borne. Miss Bennet, I insist on being 
satisfied. Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of 
marriage ? " 

" Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible." 

" It ought to be so ; it must be so, while he retains the 
use of his reason. But your arts and allurements may, 
in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what 
he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have 
drawn him in." ** 

" If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it." 

"Miss Bennet, do you know who I am? I liave not 
. * been accustomed to such language as this. I am almost 
\j^ the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled 
to know all his dearest concerns." 

"But you are not entitled „tQlmow,mi^^ will 

suchJ5eIiayiour as thisj, ever induce me to be explicit." 

" Let me be rightly understood. This match, to which 
you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. 
No, never. Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter. Now 
what have you to say ? " 

" Only this ; that if he is so, you can have no reason 
to suppose he will make an offer to me." 

Lady Catherine hesitated for a moment, and then 

" The 

( 355 ) 

" The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. 
From"l;Heir infancy, they have been intended for each 
other. It was the favourite wish of his mother, as well 
as of her's. While in their cradles, we planned the union : 
and now, at the moment when the wishes of both sisters 
would be accomplished, in their marriage, to be prevented 
by a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance in 
the world, and wholly unallied to the family ! Do you 
pay no regard to the wishes of his friends ? To his tacit 
engagement with Miss De Bourgh ? Are you lost to every 
feeling of propriety and delicacy ? Have you not heard 
me say, that from his earliest hours he was destined for 
his cousin ? " 

" Yes, and I had heard it before. But what is that 
to me ? If there is no other objection to my marrying your 
nephew, I shall certainly not be kept from it, by knowing 
that his mother and aunt wished him to marry Miss 
De Bourgh. You both did as much as you could, in plan- 
ning the marriage. Its completion depended on others. 
If Mr. Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination confined 
to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice ? And 
if I am that choice, why may not I accept him ? " 

" Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, 
forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest ; for do not expect 
to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act 
against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, 
slighted, and despised, by every one connected with him. 
Your alliance will be a disgrace ; your name will never 
even be mentioned by any of us." 

" These are heavy misfortunes," replied Elizabeth. 
" But the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary 
sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, 
that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine." 

" Obstinate, headstrong girl ! I am ashamed of you ! 
Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last 
spring ? Is nothing due to me on that score ? 

" Let us sit down. You are to understand, Miss Bennet, 
that I c/ime here with the determined resolution of 

A a 2 carrying 

( 356 ) 

carrying my purpose ; nor will I be dissuaded from it. 
I have not been used to submit to any person's whims. 
I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment." 

^* That will make your ladyship's situation at present 
more pitiable ; but it will have no effect on me." 

'* I will not be interrupted. Hear me in silence. My 
daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. They 
are descended on the maternal side, from the same noble 
line ; and, on the father's, from respectable, honourable, 
and ancient, though untitled families. Their fortune on 
both sides is splendid. They are destined for each other 
by the voice of every member of their respective houses ; 
and what is to divide them ? The upstart pretensions of 
a young woman without family, connections, or fortune. 
Is this to be endured ! But it must not, shall not be. If 
you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish 
to quit the sphere, in which you have been brought up." 

" In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself 
as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman ; I am a gentle- 
man's daughter ; so far we are equal." 

" True. You are a gentleman's daughter. But who was 
your mother ? Who are your uncles and aunts ? Do not 
imagine me ignorant of their condition." 

" Whatever my connections may be," said Elizabeth, 
" if your nephew does not object to them, they can be 
nothing to you." 

" Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him ? " 

Though Elizabeth would not, for the mere purpose of 
obliging Lady Catherine, have answered this question ; 
she could not but say, after a moment's deliberation, 

" I am not." 

Lady Catherine seemed pleased. 

" And will you promise me, never to enter into such an 
engagement ? " 

" I will make no promise of the kind." 

" Miss Bennet I am shocked and astonished. I expected 
to find a more reasonable young woman. But do not 
deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. 



( 357 ) 

I shall not go away, till you have given me the assurance 
I require." 

" And I certainly never shall give it. I am not to be 
intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. Your 
ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter ; but 
would my giving you the wished-for promise, make their 
marriage at all more probable ? Supposing him to be 
attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand, 
make him wish to bestow it on his cousin ? Allow me to 
say. Lady Catherine, that the arguments with which you 
have supported this extraordinary application, have been 
as frivolous as the application was ill-judged. You have 
widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be 
worked on by such persuasions as these. How far your 
nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs, 
I cannot tell ; but you have certainly no right to concern 
yourself in mine. I must beg, therefore, to be importuned 
no farther on the subject." 

" Not so hasty, if you please. I have by no means 
done. To all the objections I have already urged, I have 
still Another to add. I am no stranger to the particulars 
of your youngest sister's infamous elopement. I know 
it all ; that the young man's marrying her, was a patched- 
up business, at the expence of your father and uncles. 
And is such a girl to be my nephew's sister ? Is her husband, 
is the son of his late father's steward, to be his brother ? 
Heaven and earth ! — of what are you thinking ? Are the 
shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted ? " 

" You can now have nothing farther to say," she resent- 
fully answered. " You have insulted me, in every possible 
method. I must beg to return to the house." 

And she rose as she spoke. Lady Catherine rose also, 
and they turned back. Her ladyship was highly in- 

" You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit 
of my nephew ! Unfeeling, selfish girl ! Do you not con- 
sider that a connection with you, must disgrace him in 
the eyes of everybody ? " 


( 358 ) 

" Lady Catherine, I have nothing farther to say. You 
know my sentiments." 

" You are then resolved to have him ? " 

" I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act 
in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute 
my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person 
so wholly unconnected with me." 

" It is well. You refuse, then, to oblige me. You refuse 
to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude. You 
are determined to ruin him in the opinion of all his friends, 
and make him the contempt of the world." 

" Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude," replied 
Elizabeth, "have any possible claim on me, in the present 
instance. No principle of either, would be violated by 
my marriage with Mr. Darcy. And with regard to the 
resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, 
if the former were excited by his marrying me, it would 
not give me one moment's concern — and the world in 
general would have too much sense to join in the scorn." 

" And this is your real opinion ! This is your final 
resolve ! Very well. I shall now know how to act. Do 
not imagine. Miss Bennet, that your ambition will ever 
be gratified. I came to try you. I hoped to find you 
reasonable ; but depend upon it I will carry my point." 

In this manner Lady Catherine talked on, till they were 
at the door of the carriage, when turning hastily round, 
she added, 

" I take no leave of you. Miss Bennet. I send no com- 
pliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. 
I am most seriously displeased." 

Elizabeth made no answer ; and without attempting 
to persuade her ladyship to return into the house, walked 
quietly into it herself. She heard the carriage drive away 
as she proceeded up stairs. Her mother impatiently met 
her at the door of the dressing-room, to ask why Lady 
Catherine would not come in again and rest herself. 

" She did not choose it,'' said her daughter, " she 
would go." 


( 359 ) 

** She is a very fine-looking woman ! and her calling 
here was prodigiously civil ! for she only came, I suppose, 
to tell us the Collinses were well. She is on her road 
somewhere, I dare say, and so passing through Meryton, 
thought she might as well call on you. I suppose she had 
nothing particular to say to you, Lizzy ? " 

Elizabeth was forced to give into a little falsehood 
here ; for to acknowledge the substance of their conversa- 
tion was impossible. 


( 360 ) 


The discomposure of spirits, which this extraordinary 
visit threw Elizabeth into, could not be easily overcome ; 
nor could she for many hours, learn to think of it less 
than incessantly. Lady Catherine it appeared, had 
actually taken the trouble of this journey from Rosings, 
for the sole purpose of breaking off her supposed engage- 
ment with Mr. Darcy. It was a rational scheme to be 
sure ! but from what the report of their engagement could 
originate, Elizabeth was at a loss to imagine ; till she 
recollected that his being the intimate. friend of Bingley, 
and her being the sister of Jane, was enough, at a time 
when the expectation of one wedding, made every body 
eager for another, to supply the idea. She had not herself 
forgotten to feel that the marriage of her sister must bring 
them more frequently together. And her neighbours at 
Lucas lodge, therefore, (for through their communication 
with the Collinses, the report she concluded had reached 
lady Catherine) had only set that down, as almost certain 
and immediate, which she had looked forward to as possible, 
at some future time. 

In revolving lady Catherine's expressions, however, she 
could not help feeling some uneasiness as to the possible 
consequence of her persisting in this interference. From 
what she had said of her resolution to prevent their 
marriage, it occurred to Elizabeth that she must meditate 
an application to her nephew ; and how lie might take 
a similar representation of the evils attached to a con- 
nection with her, she dared not pronounce. She knew not 
the exact degree of his affection for his aunt, or his depen- 
dence on her judgment, but it was natural to suppose 
that he thought much higher of her ladyship than she 
could do ; and it was certain, that in enumerating the 


( 361 ) 

miseries of a marriage with one, whose immediate connec- 
tions were so unequal to his own, his aunt would address 
him on his weakest side. With his notions of dignity, he 
would probably feel that the arguments, which to Eliza- 
beth had appeared weak and ridiculous, contained much 
good sense and solid reasoning. 

If he had been wavering before, as to what he should 
do, which had often seemed likely, the advice and intreaty 
of so near a relation might settle every doubt, and deter- 
mine him at once to be as happy, as dignity unblemished 
could make him. In that case he would return no more. 
Lady Catherine might see him in her way through town ; 
and his engagement to Bingley of coming again to Nether- 
field must give way. 

" If, therefore, an excuse for not keeping his promise, 
should come to his friend within a few days," she added, 
" I shall know how to understand it. I shall then give 
over every expectation, every wish of his constancy. If 
he is satisfied with only regretting me, when he might 
have obtained my affections and hand, I shall soon cease 
to regret him at all." 

The surprise of the rest of the family, on hearing who 
their visitor had been, was very great ; but they obligingly 
satisfied it, with the same kind of supposition, which had 
appeased Mrs. Bennet's curiosity ; and Elizabeth was 
spared from much teazing on the subject. 

The next morning, as she was going down stairs, she 
was met by her father, who came out of his library with 
a letter in his hand. 

" Lizzy," said he, " I was going to look for you ; come 
into my room." 

She followed him thither ; and her curiosity to know 
what he had to tell her, was heightened by the supposition 
of its being in some manner connected with the letter he 
held. It suddenly struck her that it might be from lady 
Catherine ; and she anticipated with dismay all the 
consequent explanations. 


( 362 ) 

She followed her father to the fire place, and they both 
sat down. He then said, 

" I have received a letter this morning that has aston- 
ished me exceedingly. As it principally concerns yourself, 
you ought to know its contents. I did not know before, 
that I had two daughters on the brink of matrimony. Let 
me congratulate you, on a very important conquest." 

The colour now rushed into Elizabeth's cheeks in the 
instantaneous conviction of its being a letter from the 
nephew, instead of the aunt ; and she was undetermined 
whether most to be pleased that he explained himself at 
all, or offended that his letter was not rather addressed to 
herself ; when her father continued, 

" You look conscious. Young ladies have great pene- 
tration in such matters as these ; but I think I may defy 
even your sagacity, to discover the name of your admirer. 
This letter is from Mr. Collins." 

" From Mr. Collins ! and what can he have to say ? " 

" Something very much to the purpose of course. He 
begins with congratulations on the approaching nuptials 
of my eldest daughter, of which it seems he has been told, 
by some of the good-natured, gossiping Lucases. I shall 
not sport with your impatience, by reading what he says 
on that point. What relates to yourself, is as follows. 
" Having thus offered you the sincere congratulations of 
Mrs. Collins and myself on this happy event, let me now 
add a short hint on the subiect of another : of which 
we have been advertised by the same authority. Your 
daughter Elizabeth, it is presumed, will not long bear the 
name ol: Bennet, after her elder sister has resigned it, 
and the chosen partner of her fate, may be reasonably 
looked up to, as one of the most illustrious personages 
in this land." 

" Can you possibly guess, Lizzy, who is meant by 
this ? " " This young gentleman is blessed in a peculiar 
way, with every thing the heart of mortal can most 
desire, — splendid property, noble kindred, and extensive 
patronage. Yet in spite of all these temptations, let me 


( 363 ) 

warn my cousin Elizabeth, and yourself, of what evils you 
may incur, by a precipitate closure with this gentleman's 
proposals, which, of course, you will be inclined to take 
immediate advantage of." 

" Have you any idea, Lizzy, who this gentleman is ? 
But now it comes out." 

" My motive for cautioning you, is as follows. We have 
reason to imagine that his aunt, lady Catherine de Bourgh, 
does not look on the match with a friendly eye." 

" Mr. Darcy, you see, is the man ! Now, Lizzy, I think 
I have surprised you. Could he, or the Lucases, have 
pitched on any man, within the circle of our acquaintance, 
whose name would have given the lie more effectually to 
what they related ? Mr. Darcy, who never looks at any 
woman but to see a blemish, and who probably never 
looked at you in his life ! It is admirable ! " 

Elizabeth tried to join in her father's pleasantry, but 
could only force one most reluctant smile. Never had his 
wit been direct^ed in a manner so little agreeable, to her. 

" Are you not diverted ? " 

" Oh ! yes. Pray read on." 

" After mentioning the likelihood of this marriage to 
her ladyship last night, she immediately, with her usual 
condescension, expressed what she felt on the occasion ; 
when it became apparent, that on the score of some family 
objections on the part of my cousin, she would never give 
her consent to what she termed so disgraceful a match. 
I thought it my duty to give the speediest intelligence of 
this to my cousin, that she and her noble admirer may be 
aware of what they are about, and not run hastily into 
a marriage which has not been properly sanctioned." 
" Mr. Collins moreover adds," " I am truly rejoiced that 
my cousin Lydia's sad business has been so well hushed 
up, and am only concerned that their living together 
before the marriage took place, should be so generally 
known. I must not, however, neglect the duties of my 
station, or refrain from declaring my amazement, at 
hearing that you received the young couple into your 


( 364 ) 

house as soon as they were married. It was an encourage- 
ment of viee ; and had I been the rector of Longbourn, 
I should very strenuously have opposed it. You ought 
certainly to forgive them as a christian, but never to 
admit them in your sight, or allow their names to be 
mentioned in your hearing." " That is his notion of 
christian forgiveness ! The rest of his letter is only about 
his dear Charlotte's situation, and his expectation of a 
young olive-branch. But, Lizzy, you look as if you did 
not enjoy it. You are not going to be Missish, I hope, 
and pretend to be affronted at an idle report. For what 
do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and 
laugh at them in our turn ? " 

" Oh ! " cried Elizabeth, " I am excessively diverted. 
But it is so strange ! " 

" Yes — that is what makes it amusing. Had they fixed 
on any other man it would have been nothing ; but his 
perfect indifference, and your pointed dislike, make it so 
delightfully absurd ! Much as I abominate writing, I would 
not give up Mr. CoUins's correspondence for any con- 
sideration. Nay, when I read a letter of his, I cannot 
help giving him the preference even over Wickham, much 
as I value the impudence and hypocrisy of my son-in-law. 
And pray, Lizzy, what said Lady Catherine about this 
report ? Did she call to refuse her consent ? " 

To this question his daughter replied only with a laugh ; 
and as it had been asked without the least suspicion, she 
was not distressed by his repeating it. Elizabeth had 
never been more at a loss to make her feelings appear 
what they were not. It was necessary to laugh, when 
she would rather have cried. Her father had most cruelly 
mortified her, by what he said of Mr. Darcy's indifference, 
and she could do nothing but wonder at such a want of 
penetration, _or fear that perhaps, instead of his seeing 
tucriiftlf, she might have fancied too mtich. 


( 365 ) 


Instead of receiving any such letter of excuse from his 
friend, as Ehzabeth half expected Mr. Bingley to do, he 
was able to bring Darcy with him to Longbourn before 
many days had passed after Lady Catherine's visit. The 
gentlemen arrived early ; and, before Mrs. Bennet had 
time to tell him of their having seen his aunt, of which 
her daughter sat in momentary dread, Bingley, who 
wanted to be alone with Jane, proposed their all walking 
out. It was agreed to. Mrs. Bennet was not in the habit 
of walking, Mary could never spare time, but the remaining 
five set off together. Bingley and Jane, however, soon 
allowed the others to outstrip them. They lagged behind, 
while Elizabeth, Kitty, and Darcy, were to entertain each 
other. Very little was said by either ; Kitty was too 
much afraid of him to talk ; Elizabeth was secretly 
forming a desperate resolution ; and perhaps he might be 
doing the same. 

They walked towards the Lucases, because Kitty wished 
to call upon Maria ; and as Elizabeth saw no occasion 
for making it a general concern, when Kitty left them, she 
went boldly on with him alone. Now was the moment 
for her resolution to be executed, and, while her courage 
was high, she immediately said, 

" Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature ; and, for the 
sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how 
much I may be wounding your's. I can no longer help 
thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor 
sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most 
anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. 
Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have 
merely my own gratitude to express." 

" I am sorry, exceedingly sorry," replied Darcy, in 
a tone of surprise and emotion, " that you have ever 
been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have 


( me ) 

given you uneasiness. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was 
so little to be trusted." 

" You must not blame my aunt. Lydia's thought- 
lessness first betrayed to me that you had been concerned 
in the matter ; and, of course, I could not rest till I knew 
the particulars. Let me thank you again and again, in 
the name of all my family, for that generous compassion 
which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so 
many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them." 

" If you will thank me," he replied, " let it be for your- 
self alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you, might 
add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall 
not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. 
Much as I respect them^ FbelleTe;! thought only of J^:"-^ 

Elizabetli was too much embarrassed to say a word. 

After a short pause, her companion added, " You are too 

v^ generous to trifle with me. I I your feelings -a re. stilLHdiat 

j^ )k they were last April, tell ine so at once. My affections 

rf^ ^ and wishes are unchanged, but one word f rom "yoi^"*^! 

silence me on this subject for ever." 

Elizabeth feeling all the more than common awkward- 
ness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to 
speak ; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave 
him to understand, that her sentiments had undergone so 
rnaterial a change, since the period to which he alluded, 
as to make her recieive with gratitude and pleasure, his 
present assurances. The happiness which this reply 
, produced, was such as he had probably never felt before ; 
and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and 
fts warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to 
do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she 
might have seen how well the expression of heart-felt 
delight, diffused over his face, became him ; but, though 
she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of 
feelings, which, in proving of what importance she was 
to him, made his affection every moment more valuable. 

They walked on, without knowing in what direction. 
There was too much to be thought; and felt, and said, 


( 367 ) 

for attention to any other objects. She soon learnt that 
they were indebted for thmr present good understanding 
to the efforts of his aunt, who did call on him in her 
return through London, and there relate her journey to 
Longbourn, its motive, and the substance of her conversa- 
tion with Elizabeth ; dwelling emphatically on every 
expression of the latter, which, in her ladyship's appre- 
hension, peculiarly denoted her perverseness and assur- 
ance, in the belief that such a relation must assist her 
endeavours to obtain that promise from her nephew, 
which she had refused to give. But, unluckily for her 
ladyship, its effect had been exactly contrariwise. 

" It taught me to hope," said he, " as I had scarcely 
ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of 
your disposition to be certain, that, had you been abso- 
lutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have 
acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly." 

Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, " Yes, 
you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable 
of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, 
I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations." 

" What did you say of me, that I did not deserve ? 
For, though your accusations were ill-founded, formed 
on mistaken premises, my behaviour to you at the time, 
had merited the severest reproof. It was unpardonable. 
I cannot think of it without abhorrence." 

" We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame 
annexed to that evening," said Elizabeth. " The conduct 
of neither, if strictly examined, will be irreproachable ; 
but since then, we have both, I hope, improved in civility." 

" I cannot be so easily reconciled to myself. The 
recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my 
manners, my expressions during the whole of it, is now, 
and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. 
Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget : * had 
you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.' Those 
were your words. You know not, you can scarcely con- 
ceive, how they have tortured me ; — though it was some 


( 368 ) 

time, I confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow 
their justice." 

" I was certainly very far from expecting them to make 
so strong an impression. I had not the smallest idea of 
their being ever felt in such a way." 

" I can easily believe it. You thought me then devoid 
of every proper feeling, I am sure you did. The turn of 
your countenance I shall never forget, as you said that 
I could not have addressed you in any possible way, that 
would induce you to accept me." 

" Oh ! do not repeat what I then said. These recollec- 
tions will not do at all. I assure you, that I have long 
been most heartily ashamed of it." 

Darcy mentioned his letter. " Did it," said he, " did 
it soon make you think better of me ? Did you, on reading 
it, give any credit to its contents ? " 

She explained what its effect on her had been, and how 
gradually all her former prejudices had been removed. 

" I knew," said he, " that what I wrote must give you 
pain, but it was necessary. I hope you have destroyed 
the letter. There was one part especially, the opening 
of it, which I should dread your having the power of 
reading again. I can remember some expressions which 
might justly make you hate me." 

" The letter shall certainly be burnt, if you believe it 
essential to the preservation of my regard ; but, though 
we have both reason to think my opinions not entirely 
unalterable, they are not, I hope, quite so easily changed 
as that implies." 

" When I wrote that letter," replied Darcy, " I believed 
myself perfectly calm and cool, but I am since convinced 
that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit." 

" The letter, perhaps, began in bitterness, but it did 
not end so. The adieu is charity itself. But think no 
more of the letter. The feelings of the person who wrote, 
and the j>erson who received it, are now so widely different 
from what they were then, that every unpleasant circum- 
stance attending it, ought to be forgotten. You must 


( 369 ) 

learn some of my philo'sophy. Think only of the past as 
its remembrance gives you pleasure." 

" I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the 
kind. Your retrospections must be so totally void of 
reproach, that the contentment arising from them, is not 
of philosophy, but what is much better, of ignorance. 
But with mCy it is not so. Painful recollections will intrude, 
which cannot, which ought not to be repelled. I have 
been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in 
principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but 
I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good 
principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit* 
Unfortunately an only son, (for many years an only child) 
I was spoilt by my parents, who though good themselves, 
(my father particularly, all that was benevolent and 
amiable,) allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be 
selfish and overbearing, to care for none beyond my own 
family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the world, 
to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth 
compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight 
and twenty ; and such I might still have been but for 
you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth ! What do I not owe you ! 
YoU' taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most 
advantageous. B y yoUy I was properly humbjed. ^came 

to_you_witJwaUj^^Fia^b^^ shewe? 

me how insufficient were all my pretcnsion.s to gjease 
a woman worthy of being pleased." 

" Had you then persuaded yourself that I should ? " 

" Indeed I had. What will you think of my vanity ? 
I believed you to be wishing, expecting my addresses." 

" My manners must have been in fault, but not inten- 
tionally I assure you. I never meant to deceive you, but 
my spirits might often lead me wrong. How you must 
have hated me after that evening ? " 

" Hate you ! I was angry perhaps at first, but my 
anger soon began to take a proper direction." 

" I am almost afraid of asking what you thought of me ; 
when we met at Pemberley. You blamed me for coming ? " 

p. p- -Bb ''No 

( 370 ) 

" No indeed ; I felt nothing but surprise." 
" Your surprise could not be greater than mine in being 
noticed by you. My conscience told me that I deserved 
no extraordinary politeness, and I confess that I did not 
expect to receive more than my due." 

" My object then,^^ replied Darcy, " was to shew you, 
by every civility in my power, that I was not so mean as 
to resent the past ; and I hoped to obtain your for- 
giveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see 
that your reproofs had been attended to. How soon 
any other wishes introduced themselves I can hardly tell, 
but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you." 

He then told her of Georgiana's delight in her acquain- 
tance, and of her disappointment at its sudden interrup- 
tion ; which naturally leading to the cause of that 
interruption, she soon learnt that his resolution of follow- 
ing her from Derbyshire in quest of her sister, had been 
formed before he quitted the inn, and that his gravity 
and thoughtfulness there, had arisen from no other 
struggles than what such a purpose must comprehend. 

She expressed her gratitude again, but it was too 
painful a subject to each, to be dwelt on farther. 

After walking several miles in a leisurely manner, and 
too busy to know any thing about it, they found at last, on 
examining their watches, that it was time to be at home. 

" What could become of Mr. Bingley and Jane ! " 
was a wonder which introduced the discussion of their 
affairs. Darcy was delighted with their engagement ; his 
friend had given him the earliest information of it. 

" I must ask whether you were surprised ? " said 

" Not at all. When I went away, I felt that it would 
soon happen." 

" That is to say, you had given your permission. I 
guessed as much." And though he exclaimed at the term, 
she found that it had been pretty much the case. 

" On the evening before my going to London," said he 
" I made a confession to him, which I believe I ought to 


( 371 ) 

have made long ago, I told him of all that had occurred 
to make my former interference in his affairs, absurd 
and impertinent. His surprise was great. He had never 
had the slightest suspicion. I told him, moreover, that 
I believed myself mistaken in supposing, as I had done, 
that your sister was indifferent to him ; and as I could 
easily perceive that his attachment to her was unabated, 
I felt no doubt of their happiness together." 

Elizabeth could not help smiling at his easy manner of 
directing his friend. 

" Did you speak from your own observation," said she, 
" when you told him that my sister loved him, or merely 
from my information last spring ? " 

" From the former. I had narrowly observed her during 
the two visits which I had lately made her here ; ^^nd 
I was convinced of her affection." 

" And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried immediate 
convietk«r to him.'' 

*' It did. Bingley is rnost unaffectedly modest. His 
diffidence had prevented hiis depending on his own judg- 
ment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine, made 
every thing easy. I was obliged to confess one thing, 
which for a time, and not unjustly, offended him. I could 
not allow myself to conceal that your sister had been in 
town three months last winter, that I had known it, and 
purposely kept it from him. He was angry. But his 
anger, I am persuaded, lasted no longer than he remained 
in any doubt of your sister's sentiments. He has heartily 
forgiven me now." 

Elizabeth longed to observe that Mr. Bingley had been 
a most delightful friend; so easily guided that his worth 
was invaluable ; but she checked herself. She remem- 
bered that he had yet to learn to be laught at, and it 
was rather too early to begin. In anticipating the happi- 
ness of Bingley, which of course was to be inferior only 
to his own, he continued the conversation till they reached 
the house. In the hall they parted. 

B b 2 CHAP- 

( 372 ) 


" My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walking 
to ? " was a question which EUzabeth received from Jane 
as soon as she entered the room, and from all the others 
when they sat down to table. She had only to say in 
reply, that they had wandered about, till she was beyond 
her own knowledge. She coloured as she spoke ; but 
neither that, nor any thing else, awakened a suspicion of 
the truth. 

The evening passed quietly, unmarked by any thing 
extraordinary. The acknowledged lovers talked arid 
laughed, the unacknowledged were silent. Darcy was not 
of a disposition in which happiness overflows in mirth ; 
and Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather knew that 
she was happy, than felt herself to be so ; for, besides the 
immediate embarrassment, there were other evils before 
her. She anticipated what would be felt in the family when 
her situation became known ; she was aware that no one 
liked him but Jane ; and even feared that with the others 
it was a dislike which not all his fortune and consequence 
might do away. 

At night she opened her heart to Jane. Though sus- 
picion was very far from Miss Bennet's general habits, she 
was absolutely incredulous here. 

" You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be ! — engaged to 
Mr. Darcy ! No, no, you shall not deceive me. I know 
it to be impossible." 

" This is a wretched beginning indeed ! My sole depen- 
dence was on you ; and I am sure nobody else will believe 
me, if you do not. Yet, indeed, I am in earnest. I speak 
nothing but the truth. He still loves me, and we are 

Jane looked at her doubtingly. " Oh, Lizzy ! it cannot 
be. I know how much you dislike him." 


( 373 ) 

*' You know nothing of the matter. Tliat is all to be 
forgot. Perhaps I did not always love him so well as 
I do now. But in such cases as these, a good memory is 
unpardonable. This is the last time I shall ever remember 
it myself." 

Miss Bennet still looked, all amazement. Elizabeth 
again, and more seriously assured her of its truth. 

" Good Heaven ! can it be really so ! Yet now I must 
believe you," cried Jane. " My dear, dear Lizzy, I would — 
I do congratulate you — but are you certain ? forgive the 
question — are you quite certain that you can be happy 
with him ? " 

" There can be no doubt of that. It is settled between 
us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the 
world. But are you pleased, Jane ? Shall you like to have 
such a brother ? " 

" Very, very much. Nothing could give either Bingley 
or myself more delight. But we considered it, we talked 
of it as impossible. And do you really love hint quite well 
enough ? Oh, Lizzy ! do any thing rather than marry 
without affection. Are you quite sure that you feel what 
you ought to do ? " 

" Oh, yes ! You will only think I feel more than I ought 
to do, when I tell you all." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Why, I must confess, that I love him better than I do 
Bingley. I am afraid you will be angry." 

" My dearest sister, now he be serious. I want to talk 
very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to 
know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have 
loved him ? " 

" It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly 
know when it began. But I believe I must date it from 
my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." 

Another intreaty that she would be serious, however, 
produced the desired effect ; and she soon satisfied Jane 
by her solemn assurances of attachment. When convinced 
on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing farther to wish. 


( 374 ) 

" Now I am quite happy," said she, " for you will be as 
happy as myself. I always had a value for him. Were 
it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have 
esteemed him ; but now, as Bingley's friend and your 
husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more 
dear to me. But Lizzy, you have been very sly, very 
reserved with me. How Httle did you tell me of what 
passed at Pemberley and Lambton ! I owe all that 
I know of it, to another, not to you." 

Elizabeth told her the motives of her secrecy. She had 
been unwilling to mention Bingley ; and the unsettled 
state of her own feelings had made her equally avoid the 
name of his friend. But now she would no longer conceal 
from her, his share in Lydia's marriage. All was acknow- 
ledged, and half the night spent in conversation. 

" Good gracious ! " cried Mrs. Bennet, as she stood at 
a window the next morning, " if that disagreeable Mr. 
Darcy is not coming here again with our dear Bingley ! 
What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always 
coming here ? I had no notion but he Would go a shooting, 
or something or other, and not disturb us with his com- 
pany. What shall we do with him ? Lizzy, you must 
walk out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's 

Elizabeth could hardly help laughing at so convenient 
a proposal ; yet was really vexed that her mother should 
be always giving him such an epithet. 

As soon as they entered, Bingley looked at her so 
expressively, and shook hands with such warmth, as left 
no doubt of his good information ; and he soon afterwards 
said aloud, " Mr. Bennet, have you no more lanes here- 
abouts in which Lizzy may lose her way again to-day ? " 

" I advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty," said 
Mrs. Bennet, " to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. 
It is a nice long walk, and Mr. Darcy has never seen the 

" It may do very well for the others," replied Mr. 

Bingley ; 

( 375 ) 

Bingley ; " but I am sure it will be too much for Kitty. 
Wont it, Kitty ? " 

Kitty owned that she had rather stay at home. Darcy 
professed a great curiosity to see the view from the Mount, 
and Elizabeth silently consented. As she went up stairs 
to get ready, Mrs. Bennet followed her, saying, 

" I am' quite sorry, Lizzy, that you should be forced 
to have that disagreeable man all to yourself. But I hope 
you will not mind it : it is all for Jane's sake, you know ; 
and there is no occasion for talking to him, except just 
now and then. So, do not put yourself to inconvenience." 

During their walk, it was resolved that Mr. Bennet's 
consent should be asked in the course of the evening. 
Elizabeth reserved to herself the application for her 
mother's. She could not determine how her mother 
would take it ; sometimes doubting whether all his wealth 
and grandeur would be enough to overcome her abhor- 
rence of the man. But whether she were violently set 
against the match, or violently delighted with it, it was 
certain that her manner would be equally ill adapted to 
do credit to her sense ; and she could no more bear that 
Mr. Darcy should hear the first raptures of her joy, than 
the first vehemence of her disapprobation. 

In the evening, soon after Mr. Bennet withdrew to the 
library, she saw Mr. Darcy rise also and follow him, and 
her agitation on seeing it was extreme. She did not fear 
her father's opposition, but he was going to be made 
unhappy, and that it should be through her means, that 
she^ his favourite child, should be distressing him by her 
choice, should be filling him with fears and regrets in 
disposing of her, was a wretched reflection, and she sat 
in misery till Mr. Darcy appeared again, when, looking 
at him, she was a little relieved by his smile. In a few 
minutes he approached the table where she was sitting 
with Kitty ; and, while pretending to admire her work, 
said in a whisper, " Go to your father, he wants you in 
the library." She was gone directly. 


( 376 > 

Her father was walking about the room, looking grave 
and anxious. " Lizzy," said he, " what are you doing ? 
Are you out of your senses, to be accepting this man ? 
Have not you always hated him ? " 

How earnestly did she then wish that her former 
opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more 
moderate ! It would have spared her from explanations 
and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to 
give ; but they were now necessary, and she assured him 
with some confusion, of her attachment to Mr. Darcy. 

" Or in other words, you are determined to have him. 
He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes 
and fine carriages than Jane. But will they make you 

" Have you any other objection," said Elizabeth, " than 
your belief of my indifference ? " 

" None at all. We all know him to be a proud, un- 
pleasant sort of man ; but this would be nothing if you 
really liked him." 

" I do, I do like him," she replied, with tears in her eyes, 
" I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is 
perfectly amiable. You do not know what he really is ; 
then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such 

" Lizzy," said her father, " I have given him my consent. 
He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never 
dare refuse any thing, which he condescended to ask. 
I now give it to you, if you are resolved on having him. 
♦But let me advise you to think better of it. . I know your 
disposition, Lizzy. I know that you could be neither 
happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your 
husband ; unless you looked up to him as a superior. 
Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger 
in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape dis- 
credit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief 
of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. You 
know not what you are about." 

Elizabeth, still more affected, was earnest and solemn 


( 377 ) 

in her reply ; and at length, by repeated assurances that 
Mr. Darcy was really the object of her choice, by explaining 
the gradual change which her estimation of him had 
undergone, relating her absolute certainty that his affec- 
tion was not the work of a day, but had stood the test 
of many months suspense, and enumerating with energy 
all his good qualities, she did conquer her father's in- 
credulity, and reconcile him to the match. 

" Well, my dear," said he, when she ceased speaking, 
" I have no more to say. If this be the case, he deserves 
you. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to 
any one less worthy." 

To complete the favourable impression, she then told 
him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia. 
He heard her with astonishment. 

" This is an evening of wonders, indeed ! And so, 
Darcy did every thing ; made up the match, gave the 
money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him his com- 
mission ! So much the better. It will save me a world 
of trouble and economy. Had it been your uncle's doing, 
I must and would have paid him ; but these violent young 
lovers carry every thing their own way. I shall offer to 
pay. him to-morrow ; he will rant and storm about his 
love for you, and there will be an end of the matter." 

He then recollected her embarrassment a few days 
before, on his reading Mr. CoUins's letter ; and after 
laughing at her some time, allowed her at last to go — 
saying, as she quitted the room, " If any young men come v / 
for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure." V 

Elizabeth's mind was now relieved from a very heavy 
weight ; and, after half an hour's quiet reflection in her 
own room, she was able to (join the others with tolerable 
composure. Every thing was too recent for gaiety, but 
the evening passed tranquilly away ; there was no longer 
any thing material to be dreaded, and the comfort of 
ease and familiarity would come in time. 

When her mother went up to her dressing-room at 
night, she followed her, and made the important com- 

( 378 ) 

munication. Its effect was most extraordinary ; for on 
first hearing it, Mrs. Bennet sat quite still, and unable to 
utter a syllable. Nor was it under many, many minutes, 
that she could comprehend what she heard ; though not 
in general backward to credit what was for the advantage 
of her family, or that came in the shape of a lover to any 
of them. She began at length to recover, to fidget about 
in her chair, get up, sit down again, wonder, and bless 

" Good gracious ! Lord bless me ! only think ! dear 
me ! Mr. Darcy ! Who would have thought it ! And 
is it really true ? Oh ! my sweetest Lizzy ! how rich and 
how great you will be ! What pin-money, what jewels, 
what carriages you will have i Jane's is nothing to it — 
nothing at all. I am so pleased — so happy. Such a charm- 
ing man ! — so handsome ! so tall ! — Oh, my dear Lizzy ! 
pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. 
I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. A house 
in town ! Every thing that is charming ! Three daughters 
married ! Ten thousand a year ! Oh, Lord ! What will 
become of me. I shall go distracted." 

This was enough to prove that her approbation need 
not be doubted : and Elizabeth, rejoicing that such an 
effusion was heard only by herself, soon went away. But 
before she had been three minutes in her own room, her 
mother followed her. 

" My dearest child," she cried, " I can think of nothing 
else ! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more ! 'Tis 
as good as a Lord ! And a special licence. You must and 
shall be married by a special licence. But my dearest 
love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, 
that I may have it to-morrow." 

This was a sad omen of what her mother's behaviour 
to the gentleman himself might be ; and Elizabeth found, 
that though in the certain possession of his warmest 
affection, and secure of her relations' consent, there was 
still something to be wished for. But the morrow passed 
off much better than she expected ; for Mrs. Bennet 


( 379 ) 

luckily stood in such awe of her intended son-in-law, that 
she ventured not to speak to him, unless it was in her 
power to offer him any attention, or mark her deference 
for his opinion. 

Elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father 
taking pains to get acquainted with him ; and Mr. Bennet 
soon assured her that he was rising every hour in his 

" I admire all my three sons-in-law highly," said he. 
" Wickham, perhaps, is my favourite ; but I think I shall 
like your husband quite as well as Jane's." 


{ 380 ) 



Elizabeth's spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she 
wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen 
in love with her. " How could you begin ? " said she. 
" I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you 
had once made a beginning ; but what could set you off 
in the first place ? " 

" I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or 
the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. 
I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." 

" My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my 
manners — my behaviour to you was at least always 
bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without 
rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now be 
sincere ; did you admire me for my impertinence ? " 

" For the liveliness of your mind, I did." 

" You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was 
very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, 
of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted 
with the women who were always speaking and looking, 
and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and 
Interested you, because I was so unlike tliem. Had you 
not been really amiable yo.u would have hated me for it ; 
but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, 
your feelings were always noble and just ; and in your 
heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assidu- 
ously courted you. There — I have saved you the trouble 
of accounting for it ; and really, all things considered, 
I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. To be sure, you 
knew no actual good of me — but nobody thinks of that 
when they fall in love." 

" Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to 
Jane, while she was ill at Netherfield ? " 

" Dearest 

( 381 ) 

" Dearest Jane ! who could have done less for her ? 
But make a virtue of it by all means. My good qualities 
are under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them 
as much as possible ; and, in return, it belongs to me to 
find occasions for teazing and quarrelling with you as often 
as may be ; and I shall begin directly by asking you what 
made you so unwilling to come to the point at last. What 
made you so shy of me, when you first called, and after- 
wards dined here ? Why, especially, when you called, did 
you look as if you did not care about me ? " 

" Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no 
encouragement. ' ' 

" But I was embarrassed." 

*' And so was I." 

" You might have talked to me more when you came 
to dinner." 

" A man who had felt less, might." 

" How unlucky that you should have a reasonable 
answer to give, and that I should be so reasonable as to 
admit it ! But I wonder how long you would have gone 
on, if you had been left to yourself. I wonder when you 
would have spoken, if I had not asked you ! My resolution 
of thanking you for your kindness to Lydia had certainly 
great effect. Too much^ I am afraid ; for what becomes 
of the moral, if our comfort springs from a breach of 
promise, for I ought not to have mentioned the subject ? 
This will never do." 

" You need not distress yourself. The moral will be 
perfectly fair. Lady Catherine's unjustifiable endeavours 
to separate us, were the means of removing all my doubts. 
I am not indebted for my present happiness to your 
eager desire of expressing your gratitude. I was not in 
a humour to wait for any opening of your's. My aunt's 
intelligence had given me hope, and I was determined at 
once to know every thing." 

" Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought 
to make her happy, for she loves to be of use. But tell 
me, what did you come down to Netherfield for ? Was 


( 382 ) 

it merely to ride to Longbourn and be embarrassed ? or 
had you intended any more serious consequence ? " 

" My real purpose was to see you, and to judge, if I could, 
whether I might ever hope to make you love me. My 
avowed one, or what I avowed to myself, was to see 
whether your sister were still partial to Bingley, and if she 
were, to make the confession to him which I have since 

" Shall you ever have courage to announce to Lady 
Catherine, what is to befall her ? " 

" I am more likely to want time than courage, Elizabeth. 
But it ought to be done, and if you will give me a sheet 
of paper, it shall be done directly." 

" And if I had not a letter to write myself, I might sit 
by you, and admire the evenness of your writing, as 
another young lady once did. But I have an aunt, too, 
who must not be longer neglected." 

From an unwillingness to confess how much her intimacy 
with Mr. Darcy had been over-rated, EHzabeth had never 
yet answered Mrs. Gardiner's long letter, but now, having 
that to communicate which she knew would be most 
welcome, she was almost ashamed to find, that her uncle 
and aunt had already lost three days of happiness, and 
immediately wrote as follows : 

"I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt, as 
I ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory, 
detail of particulars ; but to say the truth, I was too 
cross to write. You supposed more than really existed. 
But now suppose as much as you chuse ; give a loose to 
your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible 
flight which the subject will afford, and unless you believe 
me actually married, you cannot greatly err. You must 
write again very soon, and praise him a great deal more 
than you did in your last. I thank you, again and again, 
for not going to the Lakes. How could I be so silly as 
to wish it ! Your idea of the ponies is delightful. We 
will go round the Park every day. I am the happiest 


( 383 ) 

creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said 
so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier 
even than Jane ; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr. Darcy 
sends you all the love in the world, that he can spare from 
me. You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas. 
Your's, &c.» 

Mr. Darcy's letter to Lady Catherine, was in a different 
style ; and still different from either, was what Mr. Bennet 
sent to Mr. Collins, in reply to his last. 

" Dear Sir, 
" I must trouble you once more for congratulations. 
Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console 
Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, 
I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give. 

" Your's sincerely, &c." 

Miss Bingley's congratulations to her brother, on his 
approaching marriage, were all that was affectionate and 
insincere. She wrote even to Jane on the occasion, to 
express her delight, and repeat all her former professions 
of regard. Jane was not deceived, but she was affected ; 
and though feeling no reliance on her, could not help 
writing her a much kinder answer than she knew was 

The joy which Miss Darcy expressed on receiving similar 
information, was as sincere as her brother's in sending it. 
Four sides of paper were insufficient to contain all her 
delight, and all her earnest desire of being loved by her 

Before any answer could arrive from Mr. Collins, or any 
congratulations to Elizabeth, from his wife, the Longbourn 
family heard that the Collinses were come themselves to 
Lucas lodge. The reason of this sudden removal was soon 
evident. Lady Catherine had been rendered so exceed- 
ingly angry by the contents of her nephew's letter, that 
Charlotte, really rejoicing in the match, was anxious to 
get away till the storm was blown over. At such a moment, 


( 384 ) 

the arrival of her friend was a sincere pleasure to Elizabeth, 
though in the course of their meetings she must sometimes 
think the pleasure dearly bought, when she saw Mr. Darcy 
exposed to all the parading and obsequious civility of her 
husband. He bore it however with admirable calmness. 
He could even listen to Sir William Lucas, when he com- 
plimented him on carrying away the brightest jewel of 
the country, and expressed his hopes of their all meeting 
frequently at St. James's, with very decent composure, 
il/lf he did shrug his shoulders, it was not till Sir WiUiam 
V was out of sight. 

Mrs. Philips's vulgarity was another, and perhaps a 
greater tax on his forbearance ; and though Mrs. Philips, 
as well as her sister, stood in too much awe of him to 
speak with the familiarity which Bingley's good humour 
encouraged, yet, whenever she did speak, she must be 
vulgar. Nor was her respect for him, though it made her 
more quiet, at all likely to make her more elegant. Eliza- 
beth did all she could, to shield him from the frequent 
notice of either, and was ever anxious to keep him to 
herself, and to those of her family with whom he might 
^ t>^ converse without mortification ; and though the uncom- 
j^Jk ^ fortable feelings arising from all this took from the season 
'y^ \ of courtship much of its pleasure, it added to the hope of the 

n^ -V Vp*\ future ; and she looked forward with delight to the time 
^Pf^\ ^ when they should be removed from society so little 
Wt^ pleasing to either, to all the comfort and elegance of their 

^ family party at Pemberley. 


( 385 ) 


Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on 
which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving 
daughters. With what delighted pride she afterwards 
visited Mrs. Bingley and talked of Mrs. Darcy may be 
guessed. I wish I could say, for the sake of her family, 
that the accomplishment of her earnest desire in the 
establishment of so many of her children, produced so 
happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable, well- 
informed woman for the rest of her life ; though perhaps 
it was lucky for her husband, who might not have relished 
domestic felicity in so unusual a form, that she still was 
occasionally nervous and invariably silly. '-^ 

Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly ; 
his affection for her drew him oftener from home than 
any thing else could do. He delighted in going to Pem- 
berley, especially when he was least expected. 

Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only 
a twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to her mother and 
Meryton relations was not desirable even to his easy 
temper, or her affectionate heart. The darling wish of 
his sisters was then gratified ; he bought an estate in a 
neighbouring county to Derbyshire, and Jane and Eliza- 
beth, in addition to every other source of happiness, were 
within thirty miles of each other. 

Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief 
of her time with her two elder sisters. In society so 
superior to what she had generally known, her improve- 
ment was great. She was not of so ungovernable a temper 
as Lydia, and, removed from the influence of Lydia's 
example, she became, by proper attention and manage- 
ment, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. From 
the farther disadvantage of Lydia's society she was of 
course carefully kept, and though Mrs. Wickham fre- 

p. p. c c quently 

( 386 ) 

quently invited her to come and stay with her, with the 
promise of balls and young men, her father would never 
consent to her going. 

Mary was the only daughter who remained at home ; 
and she was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accom- 
plishments by Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to sit 
alone. Mary was obliged to mix more with the world, 
but she could still moralize over every morning visit ; 
and as she was no longer mortified by comparisons between 
her sisters' beauty and her own, it was suspected by her 
father that she submitted to the change without much 

As for Wickham and Lydia, their characters suffered 
no revolution from the marriage of her sisters. He bore 
with philosophy the conviction that Elizabeth must now 
become acquainted with whatever of his ingratitude and 
falsehood had before been unknov/n to her ; and in spite 
of every thing, was not wholly without hope that Darcy 
might yet be prevailed on to make his fortune. The con- 
gratulatory letter which Elizabeth received from Lydia on 
her marriage, explained to her that, by, his wife at least, 
if not by himself, such a hope was cherished. The letter 
was to this effect : 

" My dear Lizzy, 

" I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well 
as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy. 
It is a great comfort to have you so rich, and when you 
have nothing else to do, 1 hope you will think of us. I am 
sure Wickham would like a place at court very much, and 
I do not think we shall have quite money enough to live 
upon without some help. Any place would do, of about 
three or four hundred a year ; but, however, do not 
speak to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not. 

" Your's, &c." 

As it happened that Ehzabeth had nmch rather not, 
she endeavoured in her answer to put an end to every 


( 387 ) 

intreaty and expectation of the kind. Such relief, how- 
ever, as it was in her power to afford, by the practice of 
what might be called economy in her own private expences, 
she frequently sent them. It had always been evident 
to her that such an income .as theirs, under the direction 
of two persons so extravagant in their wants, and heedless 
of the future, must be very insufficient to their support ; 
and whenever they changed their quarters, either Jane 
or herself were sure of being applied to, for some little 
assistance towards discharging their bills. Their manner 
of living, even when the restoration of peace dismissed 
them to a home, was unsettled in the extreme. , They were 
always moving from place to place in quest of a cheap 
situation, and always spending more than they ought. 
His affection for her soon sunk into indifference ; her's 
lasted a little longer ; and in spite of her youth and her . . 
manners, she retained all the claims to reputation which |l 
her marriage had given her. 

Though Darcy could never receive him at Pemberley, 
yet, for Elizabeth's sake, he assisted him farther in his 
profession. Lydia was occasionally a visitor there, when 
her 'husband was gone to enjoy himself in London or 
Bath ; and with the Bingleys they both of them frequently 
staid so long, that even Bingley's good humour was over- 
come, and he proceeded so far as to talk of giving them 
a hint to be gone. 

Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's 
marriage ; but as she thought it advisable to retain the 
right of visiting at Pemberley, she dropt all her resent- 
ment ; was fonder than ever of Georgiana, almost as 
attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and paid off every arrear 
of civility to Elizabeth. 

Pemberley was now Georgiana's home ; and the attach- 
ment of the sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped 
to see. They were able to love each other, even as well 
as they intended. Georgiana had the highest opinion in 
the world of Elizabeth ; though at first she often listened 
with an astonishment bordering on alarm, at her lively, 


( 388 ) 

sportive, manner of talking to her Jorother. He, who had 
always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame 
her affection, she now saw the object of open pleasantry. 
Her mind received knowledge which had never before 
tfallen in her way. By Elizabeth's instructions she began 
Ito comprehend that a woman may take liberties with her 
fhusband, which a brother will not always allow in a sister 
more than ten years younger than himself. 

Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage 
of her nephew ; and as she gave way to all the genuine 
frankness of her character, in her reply to the letter which 
announced its arrangement, she sent him language so very 
abusive, especially of Elizabeth, that for some time all 
intercourse was at an end. But at length, by Elizabeth's 
persuasion, he was prevailed on to overlook the offence, 
and seek a reconciliation ; and, after a little farther 
resistance on the part of his aunt, her resentment gave 
way, either to her affection for him, or her curiosity to see 
how his wife conducted herself ; and she condescended 
to wait on them at Pemberley, in spite of that pollution 
which its woods had received, not merely from the presence 
of such a mistress, but the visits of her uncle and aunt 
from the city. 

With the Gardiners, they were always on the most 
intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved 
them ; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest 
gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into 
Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them. 




S S = Sense and Sensibility, 

P P = Pride and Prejudice. 

M P = Mansfield Park, 

E = Emma, 

N A = Northanger Abbey, 

P — Persuasion, 

Memoir = A Memoir of Jane Austen by her Nephew J, E. Austen 
Leigh. Second Edition, Bentley, 1871. 

Life = Jane Austen Her Life and Letters A Family Record 
by William Austen Leigh and Richard Arthur 
Austen Leigh. 1913. 

The Letters are quoted either from Letters of Jane Austen 
edited by Edward, Lord Brabourne, 1884, or from the Life, 


t— I 




A : The first edition, 1813, of which the present is a reprint. 
B : The second edition, 1813. 
C : The third edition, 1817. 

Page 6 I. 29. ' When is your next ball to be, Lizzy ? ' is given 
to Kitty by all editions. But why should Kitty ask what she 
must have known ? And why should she call it ' your ball ' ? 
The speech is of course Mr. Bennet's. In A it begins a line, 
and the printer merely failed to indent the first word. 

Page 6 1. 15 and Page 7 1. 10 neices A : nieces B C. Neice 

* is always so spelt in her letters ', says Lord Brabourne (Letters, 
p. 2), and I find the same spelling in the first edition of Camilla, 
See Love and Freindship, passim, for Jane Austen's youthful 
habit of putting ei for ie. 

Page 13 1. 11. Boulanger "] Boulangerr ABC. But 

see 1. 21 interrupted again. Cf. Letters (5 September 1796), 

* We dined at Goodnestone, and in the evening danced two 
country dances and the Boulangeries '. 

Page 15 1. 33. the liberty of a manor.: that is the shooting 
rights. Cf. 337 ' I beg you will come here, and shoot . . . 
on Mr. Bennet's manor ' ; and see note on Deputation, P 22. 

Page 16 1. 15. ductility A B : and ductility C. 

Page 29 I. 33. red coat B C : red-coat A, 

Page 30 1. 28. carriage ? C : carriage, A B. 

Page 43 1. 26. were A B : was C, but see 1. 29. 

Page 44 1. 13. very good sort A : a very good sort B C. 
n very good sort occurs in Persuasion, p. 40 ; but cf. Tom Jones, 
Book I, ch. 2 ' that species of women . . . who are generally 
called, by their own sex, very good sort of women '. 

Page 45 I. 30. their mother's A B : her mother's C. Kitty 
was a party to the application. 

Page 46 1. 5. daughters C : daughter A B. 

Page 47 I. 25. the year A B : a year C. 

Page 48 1. 32. an indirect boast. * All censure of a man's 
self is oblique praise ' (Boswell's Johnson, 25 April 1778). 
Johrisoii on another occasion ' observed, that no man takes 
upon himself small blemishes without supposing that great 
abilities are attributed to him ; and that, in short, this affecta- 
tion of candour or modesty was but another kind of indirect 
self-praise * (Johnsonian Miscellanies, ed. Hill, ii. 153). 

Page 53 1. 16. in running A B : running C, 

392 NOTES 

Page 68 1. 28 (and 69 1. 4). Fordyce's Sermons : Sermons 
to Young Women by James Fordyce, D.D. 1766. 

Page 70 1. 17. rights A : right B C. 

Page 72 1. 26. part A B : parts C. 

Page 76 1. 21. seemed likely A B : seemed C. 

Page 79 1. 6. knew A B : know C. 

Page 81 1. 28. than with any other feeling, the reading of 
some modern editions, is of course nonsense. 

Page 86 1. 37. looks A B : look C. 
Page 87 1. 8, think it A B : think it is C. 
Page 89 1. 12. Bingleys' B C : Bingley's A. 
Page 94 1. 2. report A B : reports C. 
Page 97 1. 7. Darcy ? A Ci Darcy ! B. 

Page 102 1. ,31. carriages A B : carriage C. The coach held 
six, but with little to spare (pp. 75, 84). 

Page 106 1. 1. for my sake ; and for your own, ABC: some 
modern editions, following Bentley's, print for my sake, and 
for your own ; 

Page 108 1. 5. this A B : the C. 
1. 18. is] are ABC. 
1. 36. pretension A B : pretensions C. 
Page 109 1. 14. determined^ if he persisted » . , to apply] 
determined, that if he persisted , . . to apply ABC vulg. The 
text should perhaps stand, cf. S S 216, 

Page 111 1. 37. Is not it so A i Is it not so B C. 

Page 116 1. 21. the letter A : her letter B C. 

1. 34. the delightful A : that delightful B C, 
Page 118 1. 33. few A : a few B C. 

Page 123 1. 9. such disapprobation A B : such a disapproba- 
tion C. 

Page 126 I. 3. were A B : was C. 

Page 128 1. 14. proceeded] proceeds A B C. 

Page 133 1. 21. the others A B : others C. 

Page 134 1. 7. friends'' A : friend's B C (cf. 133 designing 

Page 140 1. 30. accident italic A : roihan B C. 
Page 141 1. 36. the sister A B : his sister C. 
Page 142 1. 12. at the time A : at the same time B C 
hoped that A B : hoped C. 

NOTES 39a 

Page 145 1. 36. Lucas] Lucy ABC. 
Page 148 1. 35. should seem A B : would seem C. 
Page 149 1. 37. in his case A B : in this case C. 
Page 155 1. 3. for enjoyment A B : of enjoyment C, 
Page 163 1. 18. were A B : was C. 

Page 166 1. 9. impertinence. C : impertinence ? A B {? no 
doubt = !) 

1. 31. broke A B : broken C. 
Page 174 I. 32. impolitic A C : impolite B. 
Page 176 1. 1. right. You B C : right. You A, 
Page 181 1. 1. sat A B: set C. 
Page 185 1. 8. would A B : could C. 

Page 202 1. 30. wondered at. Ignorant . . . either, detection] 
wondered at, ignorant . . . either. Detection ABC and all 
editions ; the correction is Henry Jackson's. 

Page 208 1. 15. blameable A B : blameless C. 

Page 217 II. 19-22. A great many . . . tell] printed as one 
speech in A B : corrected in C. 

Page 231 1. 37. Wherever C : Whenever A B. 

Page 235 1. 10. his B C : her A. 

Page 237 1. 34. by carrying] my carrying ABC; by carrying 
in the vulgate reading, but it is perhaps more probable that 
Miss Austen wrote by my carrying. 

1. 36. reasonably A C : reasonable B. 

Page 245 1. 29. apprehensions A : apprehension B C. 

Page 249 1.3. was A : were B C. 
1. 16. subject A B : subjects C. 

Page 252 I. 1. in A B : of C. 

Page 253 I. 34. in A B : and C. 

Page 254 1. 24. This A B : The C. 

Page 262 1. 22. rival of A B : rival to C. 

Page 263 1. 19. she AC: he B. 

Page 269 1.8. one of its objects. Not, of course, cither of its 

Page 275 1. 25. has anger : the loss; of a word has been 
suspected. But cf. The Wife and the Mistress, by Mary 
Charlton, second edition, 1803, vol. i, p. 263 : * reminded her 
that she would get anger if your Lordship should hear of it ' ; 
where the italics suggest a colloquialism. 

394 NOTES 

Page 279 1. 2. one serious, parting, look A : one serious ^ 
parting look B C ; but see Appendix on Punctuation. 

Page 280 1. 26. I have restored the punctuation of A ; for 
later corruptions see the Introduction, p. xii. 

1. 28. affected A B : afflicted C. 
Page 281 1. 3. That is all settled ; AB: What is all settled ? C, 

1. 14. in A: at B C. 

Page 282 1. 12. risk. C ; risk ? A B {? no doubt = /). 

Page 283 1. 13. apprehension A : apprehensions B C. 

Page 286 1. 25. directions cannot mean instructions, and it 
is not likely that Mr. Bennet had more than one direction, or 
as we now say address. I have not found another example 
of the plural. 

Page 287 1. 19. blaming^ Blaming ABC. 

1. 22. of going A B : in going C (but they did not go). 

Page 288 1. 22. frightened A B : frighted C, which is doubt- 
less accident, though it would suit the speaker. 

Page 289 1. 38. many A B : any C. 
Page 293 1. 9. measures A C : measure B. 
Page 310 1. 25. impudence A B : imprudence C. €f. 364 
' the impudence and hypocrisy of my son-in-law \ 
1. 38. the want A B : her want C, 
Page 311 1. 17. impassable B C : impossible A. 
Page 315 1. 7. was A : and was B C. 

Page 319 1. 18. little Theatre A : Little Theatre B C. The 
Little Theatre was built in 1720 on the site immediately to 
the north of what is now called the Haymarket Theatre ; it 
was pulled down when the new building was completed in 

1. 34. secret A : a secret B C. 

Page 320 1. 3. angry A B : so angry C, 
1. 27. as she finished A : and she finished B C, which should 
seem to make what follows a part of the letter. 

Page 325 1. 14. all the wickedness A B : the wickedness C. 

Page 331 1. 26. certain true A : certainly true B C — a very 
clumsy correction. 

Page 335 1. 26. toAiofBC. 

Page 336 1. 36. such a way A B : away C. 


Page 339 1. 11. Teazing, teazing, man ! A B % Teazing, teaz- 
ing man C ; cf. 279 1. 2 and note. 
1.21. meet A B : met C, 

Page 341 1. 16. making tea A B C : some modern editions 
have taking tea. 

Page 342 1. 6. lady's A B : ladies C. 

Page 343 1. 23. 

" How hard it is in some cases to be believed ! " 

" And how impossible in others 1 " 
So some recent editions, rightly. ABC print the two sen- 
tences as one speech. Miss Austen detected the error in A : 
** The greatest blunder in the printing that I have met with 
is in [Vol. Ill] page 220, 1. 3, [from the foot] where two speeches 
are made into one." (Li/e, p. 262) ; but the first attempt at 
correction was in one of Bentley's editions, in which these 
two sentences and the next (to acknowledge) are all given 
to Jane. 

Page 344 1.18. daughter's A C : daughters' B. The authority 
of the early editions on the position of an apostrophe is not 
decisive ; and Elizabeth's own^oom, mentioned 307, 352, 377, 
378, might be a room which she shared with Jane ; indeed 
their own room is mentioned, 116. On the other hand Mary 
and Kitty had their separate apartments (289) — Mary kept 
her instrument in hers (344). 

jPage 346 1. 31. other B C : others A ; but it is natural to 
suppose that Elizabeth had not sat down, either^ just above, 
may mean * either Bingley or Jane ', or perhaps ' either 
party '. 

Page 347 1. 17. suspense A B : surprizi C. 

1. 21. most reasonable A B : and most reasonable C. Cf. 16 
1. 15, note. 

Page 348 1. 5. a glow of such A B : such a glow of C. 

Page 349 1. 5. younger B C : youngest A. 
1. 31. sisters' C : sister's A B. 

Page 350 1. 15. friend] friends ABC, which could not be 
right, even if any ' friendly ' interference except Darcy's were 
under consideration ; for if him in 1. 17 does not mean his 
friend, it must mean Bingley himself. 

Page 351 1. 3. dining room. On general grounds we should 
rather expect to find them in the breakfast room at such an 
hour. There seems to be some confusion ; for though it is 
clear that they waited in the same room for Lady Catherine's 
appearance, Elizabeth presently (352) ' attended her noble 

396 NOTES 

guest down siaifs ' — the dining-room could not be upstairs — 
and * as they passed through the hall, Lady Catherine opened 
the. doors into the dining-parlour and drawing-room ' and 
pronounced them * to be decent looking rooms '. When 
Elizabeth comes back from the garden she finds Mrs. Bennet 
' at the door oi the dressing-room ' which was upstairs ; and 
she often sat there. The simplest solution is probably Mr. 
MacKinnon's, that dining room is a misprint for dressing 
room. There would be no impropriety in Bingley's being 
there, for it is clear from pages 333-5 that Bingley and Darcy 
were shown into the dressing-room ; and cf. Lady Susan 
{Memoir, 1871, p. 258). Mr. MacKinnon refers me to Ethclinde, 
or The Recluse of the Lake (1789), vol. v, p. 219 : ' a small 
dressing-room, where the young ladies were accustomed to sit 
of a morning '. 

1. 15. the remaining three. Mary was no doubt applying 
herself to her instrument, or making extracts. 

Page 352 1. 6. grounds A : ground B C (cf. 195 1. 11). 
1. 15. never sat there after dinner. Lady Catherine's remark 
and this explanation again suggest that the room is not the 
dining-room. It should not be the breakfast-room either, for 
there they did sit after dinner (p. 317 1. 18). 

Page 355 1. 8. family ? A B : family ! C. It has been 
suggested (e. g. Life, p. 411) that we should read is their 
marriage for in their marriage. But the sentence may be 
understood, as the printer of C understood it, as an exclama- 
tion (the mark of interrogation in ^ B after family does not 
preclude this ; see e. g. p. 7 1. 35, where A has ' my dear 
Mr. Bennet ? ' ; 369 1. 34) ; further, at the moment when the 
wishes of both sisters would be accomplished may be thought to 
need in their marriage to round it off. 

Page 357 1. 24. uncles A B : uncle C — a not unintelligent 
change ; but Lady Catherine might well generalize Mr. Gardmer 
into ' uncles '. 

1. 26. IS the son A B : who is the son C — a very unintelligent 

Page 362 1. 30. resigned it B C : resigned A. 

Page 366 1. 31. eye A B : eyes C. 

Page 369 1. 37. me ; A : me B C. 

Page 370 1. 26. What could become ABC, usually altered to 
What could have become. But could become or could be come is 
no doubt the same as the colloquial ' What 's come of him ? * 
The Oxford Dictionary quotes Vanity Fair : ' What has come 
of Major Dobbin ? * 

NOTES 897 

Page374 1. 31. Mr. Bennet should probably be Mrs, 
Bennet ; Bingley would be more likely to address her on 
such a point, and it is she who replies. Mr. Bennet was 
probably in his library. 

Page 380 1. 20. thinking B C : think A. 

1. 29. knew] know ABC, but the confusion is common ; 
see e. g. 79 1. 6 note. 

Page 381 1. 33. any A B : an C. 

Page 382 1. 6. were A : xvas B C. 

Page 383 1. 2. not one A B : no one C. 

1. 4. he can spare A B : can be spared C. 

Page 384 1. 14. as well as B C : as well A. 

Page 386 1. 25. as zvell A : so well B C. 


Frontispiece. See the Appendix on Manners (in Vol. IV) 
for other specimens of the works of Mr. Thomas Wilson. 

Page 1. From La Belle AssemhUe for July 1815 : 

Morning Dress. Round dress of jacconet muslin, made to 
answer the double purpose of a morning or dinner-dress ; in 
the former, as our readers will perceive by the Print, it is worn 
with a skirt, in the latter without. We shall not enter into 
any description of the form of this really elegant, novel, and 
tasteful dress. Our readers may form an idea of the front 
from the Print ; the back is calculated to display the figure 
to the greatest advantage, as the shape is formed by the dress 
in a style equally elegant and original. Hat of white pearl 
silk, ornamented d-la-Francoise, with a superb plume of 
feathers, and a bunch of artificial flowers. We have not for 
a length of time seen any thing so becoming as this tasteful 
little hat, the toute ensemble of which is at once novel, striking, 
and elegant. Necklace, earrings, and bracelets of plain dead 
gold. Primrose sandals, and white kid gloves. 

The above dresses were invented by Mrs. Bell, Inventress 
of the Ladies Chapeau Bras and the Circassian Corsets, and of 
whom only they can be had, at her Magazin des Modes, No. 26, 
Charlotte-street, Bedford-square. 

Pages 243, 245. From Gilpin's Observations on the 
Mountains, and Lakes of Cumberland, and Westmoreland. 
The two plates are thus described (in the third edition, 
vol. ii, Explanation of the Prints) : 

This print is meant to give some idea of that kind of con- 
tinuation of rocky scenery, which is found at Matlock, along 
the banks of the Derwent. 

This view of Dove-dale, represents that beautiful scene in 
a more naked state, than it is described. The bare rock only 
is here represented ; which the spectator's imagination must 





cloath with wood, to give it compleat beauty. — The fact is, 
a httle gain unluckily arises from dismantling it periodically 
of it's wood ; and this drawing was made, just after the axe 
had been at work. 

Page 398. From Ackermann's Repository for January 

1817 : 

Plate 5. — Parisian Head-Dresses. 

No. 1. A plain straw bonnet, lined and trimmed with lilac. 
The crown of a round shape, and a moderate height ; the front 
is large, and ornamented with lilac ribbon : the crown is 
decorated at top and bottom to correspond. It is finished by 
a bunch of auriculas and lilac strings. 

No. 2. A morning cornette, composed of worked muslin ; 
the lower part a mob, the crown round, made very full, and 
divided into compartments by drawings. The top of the crown 
is edged with lace ; the border corresponds. No ornament. 

No. 3. A black straw bonnet of a similar shape to No. 1. 
but larger ; it is lined and trimmed with green ribbon, so 
disposed as to form a wreath of ties with green ribbon. 

No. 4. A fancy straw bonnet of a peculiarly elegant and 
novel shape ; the front very large, but the crown a moderate 
height. It is lined and trimmed with white, and ornamented 
with a profusion of white roses. 

No. 5. A cornette^ composed of tullCy the crown round, and 
made very high ; the lower part a mob, cut in a different 
manner to any we have seen ; a row of straw-colour ribbon 
is run in next to the border ; strings and bow to correspond. 

No. 6. A remarkably neat plain black straw morning bonnet, 
trimmed and lined with purple, and ornamented with a single 
China aster. 

No. 7. A very elegant promenade bonnet ; the front com- 
posed of Leghorn, trimmed with a puffing of tulle ; the crown, 
of white satin, is made very full and rather high. The fulness 
is confined at top by a white silk half-handkerchief, edged 
with tulle^ which ties it under the chin. It is ornamented 
with a bunch of Provence roses and fancy flowers. 

No. 8. A morning cornettey the upper part composed of 
worked, and the lower of plain muslin ; the crown oval, with 
a full puffing of muslin up the middle, A lace border and white 
satin strings. 



THE indications of time in Pride and Prejudice are 
frequent and precise ; and though only three com- 
plete dates are given (that is with the day of the week 
and month), and one of those is certainly wrong, it is 
none the less possible to date almost every event with 
precision and with virtual certainty. 

This conclusion has been arrived at by proceeding on 
the assumption that the dates which are given are mutually 
consistent. This assumption was justified by Mr, Mac- 
Kinnon's demonstration that in writing Mansfield Park 
Miss Austen used an almanac. (See the Appendix to that 
volume.) In Pride and Prejudice the calculation was for 
a time upset by the error just mentioned ; but in the end 
we were able to get at the truth from other indications, 
and finally to correct the error. 

There are three main sections in the narrative, in each 
of which we are able to follow the course of events from 
day to day. The first is the autumn at Meryton. Here 
we start (63) from the date of Mr. Collinses visit, Monday, 
November 18th. From that we can reckon the date of 
the ball at Netherfield as Tuesday, 26 November ; it is 
stated to be Tuesday (86), and the full date is confirmed 
by Bingley months later, when he says (262) : * We have 
not met since the 26th of November.' 

The second section, Elizabeth's stay at Hunsford, 
cannot be precisely dated without inference from what 
precedes and follows. 

In the third section, the events preceding and following 
the elopement, we naturally start from Mr. Gardiner's 


letter (302), dated Monday, August 2. But this is at 
once seen to be too early, by about a fortnight, both for 
what comes before and for what comes after. We must 
therefore work back from Mrs. Gardiner's letter (321), 
which is dated September 6, . 

Now Lydia and Wickham came to Longbourn on their 
wedding-day, which was a Monday, and were to stay ' not 
above ten days' (318). 'Soon after their arrival' — say 
on Wednesday or Thursday — Lydia let out the secret of 
Darcy's presence at the wedding. Elizabeth at once (320) 
wrote to her aunt for enlightenment, and the answer, 
which she received ' as soon as she possibly could ', is 
dated Sept. 6, The wedding-day, therefore, should be 
some six days before 6 September. 

Assuming consistency, Mr. MacKinnon argued thus. In 
a year, following a year in which 18 November is a Monday, 
6 September is Saturday in an ordinary year and Sunday 
in a leap year ; the preceding Monday is 1 September in 
an ordinary year, 31 August in a leap year. But the 
wedding-day cannot have been 1 September, or Lydia 
could not, on the evening of that day, be sure that Wick- 
ham would ' kill more birds on the first of September, 
than any body else in the country ' (318). It follows that 
the wedding was Monday, 31 August, in a leap year. It 
follows also that the almanacs used by Miss Austen were 
those of 1811 and 1812. For though 18 November was 
a Monday in 1799 and again in 1805, 1800 and 1806 were 
not leap years. 

Everything is now clear. The date of Mr. Gardiner's 
express was not Monday, 2 August, but Monday, 17 August. 
But an express was sent to Longbourn on Sunday, 
2 August, from Brighton, to announce the elopement. 
The most probable explanation of the mistake is that 
Miss Austen confused these two dates. Otherwise there 

pp- D d 


is no mistake ; and it was on Wednesday, 5 August, that 
Bingley told Elizabeth that ' It is above eight months. 
We have not met since the 26th of November, when we 
were all dancing together at Netherfield.' 

The Hunsford dates are less precisely indicated ; but 
if we assume consistency as before, the Saturday of 
Elizabeth's leaving can only have been 18 April ; and 
Easter Day, therefore, can only have been 29 March. 
Now in 1812 Easter Day was 29 March.^ 

The calendar which is appended will make it clear that 
an almanac was used, and that Miss Austen knew where 
she was even when she does not tell us. It will be seen 
that the day on which Mrs. Bennet could get no fish was 
a Monday (61). 

The dates or parts of dates printed in italics are quoted 
verbally ; the others, though inferred, are equally certain 
unless the contrary is indicated. 

Tues. 15 Oct, Mr. CoUins's letter. Page 62 

Tues. 12 Nov. Jane is invited to dine at Netherfield. 29 

Wed. 13 Nov. Her illness. 31 

Thurs. 14 Nov. Mrs. Bennet at Netherfield. Elizabeth 

remains. 41 

Fri. 15 Nov. Darcy begins to feel his danger. 52 

Sat. 16 Nov. Darcy adheres to his book. 59, 60 

Sun. 17 Nov. The sisters leave Netherfield. 60, 77 

Mon. 18 Nov. Arrival of Mr. Collins. * There is not a bit of fish 

to be got.' 61, 63 

Tues. 19 Nov. First appearance of Wickham. 71 

Wed. 20 Nov. ' A little bit of hot supper ' with the Philipses. 

Thurs. 21 Nov. The Bingleys visit Longbourn. 85 

Fri., Sat., Sun., Mon., 22-25 Nov. A succession of rain. 88 
Tues. 26 Nov. The Ball at Netherfield. 86, 262 

Wed. 27 Nov. Mr. Collins proposes. 104, 121 

Bingley goes to London. 103 

* Mr. MacKinnon actually arrived at 29 March for Easter Day, 
while calculating with an ideal calendar, and before consulting that 
of 1812. 


Thurs. 28 Nov. The Bingleys leave Netherfield. 115 

Fri. 29 Nov. Mr. Collins at Lucas Lodge. 121 
Sat. 30 Nov. Mr. Collins returns to Hunsford. 63, 104, 123 

Tues. 3 Dec. His promised letter of thanks. 128 

Mon. 16 Dec. His return to Longbourn. 128 

Sat. 21 Dec. His departure. 139 

Mon. 23 Dec. The Gardiners come for Christmas. 139 

Mon. 30 Dec. They leave, taking Jane. 142 

1812 ^ 

Early in Jan. Mr. Collins at Lucas Lodge. 145 

Mon. 6 Jan. Jane has been a week in town. 147 

Tucs. 7 Jan. She calls in Grosvenor-street. 147 

Wed. 8 Jan. Charlotte says good-bye. 145 

Thurs. 9 Jan. The wedding. 145 
Late in Jan. Four weeks pass away, without Jane's seeing 

Bingley. 147 

Early in March. Elizabeth goes to London. 146, 151 

? Thurs. 5 March. Arrival at Hunsford. 155 

? Fri. 6 March. Miss de Burgh at the Parsonage. 158 

? Sat. 7 March. They dine at Rosings. 160 

? Thurs. 12 March. Sir William leaves. 168 

? Thurs. 19 March. End of Elizabeth's first fortnight. 169 

Mon. 23 March. Darcy and Fitzwilliam arrive. 170 

Tues. 24 March. They call at the Parsonage. 170 
. Jane has been in town these three months 

(30 Dec.-24 March). 171 
Fri. 27 March. It was doubtless on Good Friday that Darcy i/ 

was ' seen at church '. 172 
Sun» 29 March, Easter-day, ' almost a week after the gentle- 
men's arrival % the evening is spent at Rosings. 172 
Mon. 30 March. Darcy calls. 177 

Thurs. 9 April. Elizabeth's conversation with Colonel Fitz- 
william. Darcy proposes. /^ 182,188,366 

Fri. 10 April. Darcy's letter. Elizabeth has spent five weeks in 
Kent. 195 

Sat. 11 April. Fitzwilliam and Darcy leave Kent, after a stay of 
'nearly three weeks'. Dinner at Rosings. 183, 210, 234 

Fri. 17 April. The evening spent at Rosings. 213 

Sat. 18 April. Elizabeth goes to town, after a visit of six weeks 
(and a few days). 211, 215 

From May to July the dates are approximate only. 
Jane, Elizabeth, and Maria have left town in the second 
week in May (219), and the regiment was then to stay only 



a fortnight. It seems to have gone about the end of the 
month, for Lydia, who went with it (233, 235), had been 
away three months on 31 August (316). See also 229, 238. 

Jane and Elizabeth ought not, therefore, to be at Long- 
bourn before Saturday, 9 May, or Monday, 11 May. If so, 
the statement on p. 217 that Elizabeth or Maria ' were to 
remain a few days' with the Gardiners is not exact, 
since they came to them on 18 April. 

Again, p. 227, Elizabeth after her return to Longbourn 
told Jane the * secrets which had weighed on her for 
a fortnight '. She had known the secrets for nearly 
a month ; but the reference seems to be to the period 
during which she had been with Jane but had not told 
her. See 188, 217. 

By the middle of June, Kitty Bennet had begun to 
recover (238), and the time fixed for the Northern tour 
was then a fortnight or more distant — say 1 July. It 
was then postponed for a fortnight — to say 15 July ; and 
was to last three weeks or a month (238, 239). The 
interval from 15 July to 3 August seems about right for 
the journey through 'Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenel- 
worth, Birmingham, &c.', and the inspection of ' all the 
principal wonders ' of Derbyshire (240). 

From this point the dates can be determined by reckon- 
ing backwards from 6 September. 

Sat. 1 Aug. Lydia's elopement (Elizabeth calls it Sunday night, 

277). 274 

Sun. 2 Aug. Colonel Forster sends an express to Longbourn. 

Men. 3 Aug. Colonel Forster comes to Longbourn. 274 

The Gardiners and Elizabeth at Lambton. 240 

Tues. 4 Aug. Mr. Bennet goes to town. 275, 286, 292 

The Gardiners and Elizabeth visit Pemberley. 245 

Wed. 5 Aug. Colonel Forster is back at Brighton. Mr. Bennet 

writes to Jane. 276, 286 

•- Darcy and his sister visit Elizabeth. 260 

Bingley says it is * above eight months ' since 26 Nov. 262 


Thurs. 6 Aug. The Gardiners and Elizabeth at Pemberley. 


Fri. 7 Aug. Elizabeth hears from Jane. The dinner at Pem- 
berley is cancelled, and the Gardiners and Elizabeth leave 
Lambton. . 278 

Sat. 8 Aug. They arrive at Longbourn. 286 

Darcy leaves Derbyshire, for London. 321 

Sun. 9 Aug. Mr. Gardiner leaves Longbourn. 288, 295 

Tucs. 11 Aug. Mrs. Gardiner hears from her husband. 295 

Fri. 14 Aug. Darcy calls in Gracechurch-street. 321 

Sat. 15 Aug. Mr. Bennet returns. 298, 302 

Mr. Gardiner goes back to town. 321 

Darcy calls again, having ascertained that Mr. Bennet is 

gone. 323 

Sun. IG Aug. Darcy sees Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. 323 

Mon. 17 Aug. Mr. Gardiner's express (misdated August 2). 301 

Matters ' all settled ' between Mr. Gardiner and Darcy. 

Lydia goes to Gracechurch-street, where she remains 
a fortnight. 303, 319 

Mrs. Bennet comes down stairs, for the first time for 
a fortnight (since 2 Aug.). 310 

Msm. 31 Aug. Wedding of Lydia and Wickham ; they .come to 

Longbourn ; Lydia is sure Wickham will * kill more birds 

on the first of September, than any body else in the 

country '. 315, 319, 325 

Tues. 1 Sept. Darcy dines with the Gardiners. 325 

Wed. 2 Sept. Jane writes to Mrs. Gardiner. 325 

Wed. 2 Sept., or Thurs. 3 Sept. Darcy leaves town. 325 

? Fri. 4 Sept. Elizabeth asks Mrs. Gardiner for an explanation 

of Lydia's disclosures. 318,320 

Sun. 6 Sept. Mrs. Gardiner replies. 321 

? Thurs. 10 Sept. The Wickhams leave. 318, 330 

Wed. 16 or Thurs. 17 Sept. Bingley expected at Netherfield. 

It is now ' about a twelvemonth ' since Mr. Bennet's wait- 
ing upon him had been first canvassed ; he was ' to take 
possession before Michaelmas ', 1811. 3, 332 

? Sat. 19 Sept. Bingley and Darcy call. 338 

Tues. 22 Sept. They dine at Longbourn. 839 


? Wed. 23 Sept. Darcy's confession to Bingley. 370 

? Thurs. 24 Sept. Darcy leaves for town, to return in ten days 
time. Bingley calls alone. 344 

Fri. 25 Sept. He comes to dine, and stays supper. 345 

Sat. 26 Sept. Bingley comes to shoot. He and Jane are engaged. 


? Sat. 3 Oct. Lady Catherine's visit, about a week after the 
engagement, and two days after the ' report of a most 
alarming nature ' had reached her. 351, 353 

Sun. 4 Oct. Mr. Bennet hears from Mr. Collins, who writing 
no doubt on Fri. 2 Oct. says he mentioned the rumour of 
Elizabeth's engagement to Darcy * to her ladyship last 
night '. 362, 363 

? Tues. 6 Oct. Bingley brings Darcy. The proposal. 365 

? Wed. 7 Oct. They walk to Oakham Mount. 374 

? Thurs. 8 Oct. Darcy dines at Longbourn. 378 

Before Christmas. The double wedding. The Gardiners are 
' to come to Pemberley at Christmas '. 383, 385 

If the conclusions stated are accepted, we must modify 
the assumption which is commonly made, though it rests 
on slender evidence, that Pride and Prejudice as we have 
it is substantially the same book as First Impressions, 
See the Introductory Note, But the view we take of the 
extent and importance of the revision, performed within 
a year or two of publication, does not necessarily affect 
our view of the ' dramatic ' date. Miss Austen's punc- 
tilious observance of the calendars of 1811 and 1812 — if 
we are right in supposing that she did so observe them 
— was for her own satisfaction ; she did not expect her 
readers to play the detective. We are still free, there- 
fore, to suppose, if we choose, that she at all times con- 
ceived the events as belonging to the closing decade of 
the eighteenth century. One episode, indeed, cannot 
with strict propriety belong to any other time. The 
.militia camps at Brighton in 1793, 1794, and 1795 were 
important and notorious ; and I cannot find that the 


militia were there in force in any later year. But the 
militia was later again embodied, from 1803 continuously 
until 1814 ; and we are not bound to suppose that Miss 
Austen conceived the Brighton episode as ' dating ' the 
story either for herself or for her readers. 

The only other indication of a ' dramatic ' date is the 
reference in the last chapter to the fortunes of the Wick- 
hams ' when the restoration of peace dismissed them to 
a home ' (387). The Peace of Amiens was concluded in 
March 1802 ; and it is permissible to conjecture that 
Miss Austen revised her work between this date and the 
resumption of hostilities. But it is perhaps equally 
possible that in 1812 she looked forward to the peace 
that was still to come. (See, on this point, the Appendix 
on the Chronology of Emma.) 

However this may be, I feel a certain difficulty in 
supposing that, in publishing Pride and Prejudice in 1813, 
Miss Austen definitely conceived its action as taking place 
some ten years (or more) earlier. It will be remembered 
that when she in 1816 prepared Catherine for publication, 
she thought it necessary to apologize for ' those parts of 
the work which thirteen years have made comparatively 
obsolete ' ; and that in the end she could not make up 
her mind to publish. She may, of course, have been less 
scrupulous in 1812. But Pride and Prejudice has always 
seemed to me a book of greater maturity than is credible 
if we suppose it to have been written, much as we know 
it, when its author was only one-and-twenty. The 
disparity between Pride and Prejudice and Sense and 
Sensibility is very striking. On the other hand. Pride 
and Prejudice has its immaturities, and it would be 
difficult to argue, on internal evidence, that it is much 
later than Northanger Abbey, 



THE amiable surgeon, in the fifth volume of Cecilia, 
thus draws the moral of that tale : 

' The whole of this unfortunate business ', said Dr. 
Lyster, ' has been the result of Pride and Prejudice. 
. . . Yet this, however, remember ; if to Pride and 
Prejudice you oAve your miseries, so wonderfully is 
good and evil balanced, that to Pride and Prejudice 
you will also owe their termination.' 

The phrase thus made prominent by capitals and 
repetition caught the public ear. It is echoed by Mrs. 
Thrale in her diary for 1 October 1782, the year in which 
Cecilia was published,^ and by Mrs. Knowles the Quakeress 
in her account of her once celebrated dispute with Dr. 
Johnson. 2 

Miss Austen's youthful enthusiasm for Evelina, Cecilia, 
and even Camilla, is well known ; and it is permissible 
to guess that First Impressions owed more to Cecilia than 
the alteration of its title. The situations are not parallel ; 
in Cecilia both the pride and the prejudice are on the 
young man's side, and the heroine is blameless. None 
the less the book contains ^perceptible adumbrations of 
Pride and Prejudice ; see especially, in Book VII, chapter 1, 
the hero's letter, explaining his family's opposition to the 
match and his own scruples, and the lady's reception of it. 

Darcy was a large landowner in Derbyshire. Now in 
fact both the D'Arcys, Earls of Holdcrnesse, and of course 
the Fitzwilliams (Darcy's father married Lady Anne 
Fitzwilliam) were Northern magnates. The resemblance 
of Pemberley to Pemberton, the family name, in Cecilia, 

* Hayward's Piozzi, second edition, i. 172. 

» The interview took place on 15 April 1778, but Mrs. Knowles's 
account of it first appeared in 1791, and Boswell believed it to be 
largely fabricated. 


of the Duke of Derwent, may be something more than 
accident. Similarly Everingham, in Mansfield Park, may 
be an echo of Everington in Camilla, 

The nearest parallels I have found, in the titles of 
novels, to Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, 
are Mrs. Inchbald's Natiire and Art (1796), Elizabeth 
(k)Och's Truth and Fiction (1801), and Miss Austen's own 
Love and Freindship. It is natural to suppose that 
Sense and Sensibility was named on the model of Pride 
and Prejudice, A poem called Pride and Ignorance was 
published in 1801. After 1813 titles like Pride and 
Prejudice are common ; examples are Patience and 
Perseverance (advertised in The Times of 13 April 1814) 
and Faith and Fiction by Elizabeth Bennett (1816). 
This is genuine, not a skit as might be conjectured.^ 

In 1820 was published Humorous Recitations in Verse, 
with Pride and Prejudice, or Strictures on Public Schools. 


Direct address is here distinguished from the name given 
to a third party by being printed in italic. 

MODES of address were in general more formal than 
to-day. Husbands and wives, even among inti- 
mates, refer to each other as ' Mr.' and * Mrs.' ; a mode 
still current among well-bred people in the United States 
of America. Thus Mrs. Weston tells Mr. Knightley 
that ' Mr. Weston would undoubtedly support me, if 
he were here ' (E 36), and Isabella speaking to her father 
trusts he does ' not think Mr. Knightley looking ill ' 
{E 103). The same form is used not infrequently by 

* Watt (Bibliotheca Britannica) erroneously ascribes Faith and 
Fiction to Agnes Maria Bennett, who died in 1808 ; the Dictionary 
of National Biography follows Watt, and, proceeding perhaps by 
conjecture, states that the book was published posthumously. 


husbands and wives to each other : ' My dear Mr. BenneV ; 
* There, Mrs. Bennet' (P P 12, 62). Lady Bertram 
always calls her husband Sir Thomas. Similarly, Mary 
Crawford calls her half-sister Mrs. Grant {M P 162). 

From children to their parents, and juniors to seniors 
generally, Sir and Madam or Ma^am are normal. Emma 
almost always calls Mr. Woodhouse papa (but Sir p. 280 ; 
and Isabella calls him Sir) ; Elizabeth Bennet sometimes 
calls her mother mama (P P 43 ; but Madam 99, Ma'am 
104) ; Jane Fairfax calls Mrs. Bates grandmama (E 158). 
But these are exceptional liberties. 

The use of a term of relationship alone in address, 
now restricted to Father, Mother, Grandfather, and Grand- 
mother, was more widely applied. Lady Bertram calls 
Mrs. Norris sister, Mrs. Bennet calls Mr. Gardiner brother, 
Fanny Price calls Edmund cousin. (Daughter is not so 

The same use, in naming a third person, is much 
commoner than now. Edmund Bertram speaks to Fanny 
of ' my brother ', Sir Thomas to Fanny of ' your cousin '. 
My or your is always prefixed ; ' father ' is not used ; 
so ' uncle ' is a vulgarism to-day (' Uncle is coming to 
dinner '). 

The use of Christian names among young people was 
much less easy than it now is. Fanny Price's humility 
is no doubt shown in her speaking to Edmund of Tom 
as ' Mr. Bertram ', and addressing Maria as Miss Ber- 
tram {MP 199, 99); but except among near relations 
Christian names were not very freely used. It was 
a mark of Mrs. John Dashwood's affability that she 
' called Lucy by her Christian name ' (S S 254) ; and of 
the vulgarity of the Thorpes that the friends of a morning 
should be 'Emily' and 'Sophia' {N A 115). A con- 
venient compromise, now less widely admissible, was the 
use of a Christian name with 3Iiss, ' Pray, Miss Eliza,^ 


says Miss Bingley to Elizabeth (P P 269) ; and Miss 
Steele, writing to Miss Dashwood, sends her ' love to 
Miss Marianne ' (S S 278). 

Young men spoke to and of each other much as they do 
to-day, and were then, as they now are, less apt than 
their sisters to use Christian names. 

In the use, by ladies speaking to or of men, of the 
surname without prefix, we have the sole example of a 
familiarity greater than was afterwards fashionable; we 
can note, too, an interesting difference between the earlier 
and the later books. Wickham is spoken of as ' Wick- 
ham ' not only by the girls but by Mrs. Gardiner (P P 
240) ; and Willoughby is eyen so addressed by Marianne 
and her mother (though not by Elinor, who even (S S 
88) points the contrast of Sense and Sensibility by calling 
her own lover Mr. Ferrars). This may possibly be a trace 
of early composition, for it does not occur in the later 
novels. Isabella Thorpe calls her lover Morland (N A 
120), but that might equally be a mark of date, and Isabella 
is not a model ; Catherine Morland always gives Henry 
Tilney the prefix. There is no disposition in Highbury 
to call Frank 'Churchill'; and Mrs. Elton's ' Knightley ' 
is the crowning proof of her want of elegance {E 279). 

The use or omission of Christian names, when a surname 
is used, is almost always significant. Tom Bertram is 

* Mr. Bertram ' — ' your cousin, Mr. Bertram ', says 
Sir Thomas to Fanny (M P 317) ; his brother is ' Mr. 
Edmund Bertram ', even in the elder brother's absence ^ ; 
' Miss Price and Mr. Edmund Bertram ', said Dr. Grant, 

* I dare say, would take their chance ' {M P 215).^ The 
elder Miss Steele is always ' Miss Steele ', the younger 

^ This is not an absolute rule. ' I am so glad *, says INIary Crawford, 
' your eldest cousin is gone that he may be Mr. Bertram again. 
There is something in the sound of IMr. Edmund Bertram so formal, 
so pitiful, so younger-brother-like that I detest it.' But in the same 
chapter Dr. Grant uses the longer form (M P 211). 


' Miss Lucy Steele ' ; and Frank Churchill is never, 
I believe, spoken of as Mr. Churchill, though his uncle 
was as remote as Yorkshire. He must occasionally be so 
addressed, by those who could call him neither Churchill 
nor Frank ; but it seems to be avoided. Mr. (George) 
Knightley and Mr. Elton are frequently so named ; 
but ' Mr. Knightley ' (meaning Mr. John) and ' Mr. 
Churchill ' hardly occur. So when Isabella Knightley, 
speaking familiarly of her husband, trusts that her father 
does not ' think Mr. Knightley looking ill ', Mr. Woodhouse 
replies with greater accuracy, ' Middling, my dear ; I 
cannot compliment you. I think Mr. John Knightley very 
far from looking well ' (E 103). 

The designation of a wife by her husband's Christian 
name, which is now not usual except in formal speech, 
or when it is the only alternative to ambiguity, was then 
much commoner. Captain Wentworth speaking to his 
friend Charles Musgrove says neither ' your wife ' nor 
' Mrs. Musgrove ', but ' Mrs. Charles Musgrove will, of 
course, wish to get back to her children ' (P 114) ; and the 
real Mrs. Musgrove, in speaking to Miss Anne, calls her 
own daughter-in-law ' Mrs. Charles ' (P 45) ; Mrs. Mus- 
grove, however, is not a model in these matters. 

The use of the third person in direct address, so much 
affected by Miss Burney's heroes, is found very occasionally 
in Miss Austen, and has always a special purpose. ' I have 
not had the pleasure of visiting in Camden-place so long ', 
says plausible Mr. Elliot, ' without knowing something 
of Miss Anne Elliot ' — where his substitution of the 
formal description for you adds, as he supposes, to the 
delicacy of his compliment (P 187). Jane Fairfax, 
from a different motive, uses the same indirect mode : 
' Ah ! you are not serious now. I know Mr. John 
Knightley too well — I am very sure he understands the 
value of friendship as well as any body ' (E 293). 



Mrs, Annesley (226). 

Mr. BENNET, of Longbourn-house in Hertfordshire ; the 
estate was about 2,000/. a year (28) and 5,000Z. was settled 

on his wife and children (308) ; m. Gardiner, daughter 

of a Meryton attorney, 4,000Z. (28). 

Their children : Jane, 22 (221), m. Charles Bingley ; Elizabeth, 
20 (166), m. Fitzwilliam Darcy; Mary, 'obtained nothing 
higher than one of her uncle Philip's clerks ', Memoir, ed. 2, 
p. 148 ; Catherine, ' satisfactorily married to a clergyman 
near Pemberley', Memoir, ed. 2, p. 148 ; Lydia, 15 (45), 
16 (231), m. George Wickham. 

Charles BINGLEY, 22 (16), 100,000Z. (15) ; it is implied that 
he lived in London : m. Jane Bennet. His sisters : Louisa, 
20,000/., m. Mr. Hurst ; Caroline, 20,000/. 

Captain Carter, of the shire Militia (29). 

Mr. Chamberlayne, of the shire Militia (221). 

the Rev. William COLLINS, Rector of Hunsford in Kent, 
' cousin and heir (61) to Mr. Bennet ; 25 (64) ; at one of the 
Universities (70) ; m. Charlotte Lucas. 

Mr. DARCY the elder, of Pemberley in Derbyshire, m. Lady 
Anne Fitzwilliam ; Fitzwilliam Darcy, his son, of Pemberley 
(and a town house, not named), 28 (369), 10,000/. a year (77) ; 
m. Elizabeth Bennet. His sister Georgiana, 16 (261), 
30,000/. (202). 

Dawson, Lady Catherine's maid (211). 

Sir Lewis de BOURGH, of Rosings Park in Kent (62) ; his 
widow, the Rt. Hon. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, daughter 

of the Earl of and sister of Lady Anne Darcy ; their 

daughter, Anne (176). 

Mr. Denny, of the shire Militia (28). 

Colonel Fitzwilliam, younger son of the Earl of (183), 

nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh (180) and of Lady 
Anne Darcy (201). 

Colonel Forster, commanding the shire Militia ; Harriet 

his wife (291). 


Edward GARDINER, of Gracechurch-street (303), brother of 
Mrs. Bennet ; his wife, M (325) ; their children. 

the Gouldings (WilHam, 316) of Haye-Park (310). 

Miss Grantley (48). 

Haggerston, an attorney (303). 

Miss Harriet and Miss Pen Harrington (221). 

Mrs. Hill, housekeeper at Longbourn (301). ^ 

Mr. Hurst, of Grosvenor-street (116) ; m. Louisa Bingley (30). 

Mrs. Jenkinson, Miss de Bourgh's companion^ 

John, the CoUins's servant (212). 

John, the Gardiners' servant (212, 280). 

Mr. Jones, apothecary at Meryton (81). 

Miss Mary King (220). 

Mrs. Long ; her two nieces (6, 342). 

Sir William LUCAS, Knight, and Lady Lucas, of Lucas Lodge 
(18); their children, Charlotte, 27 (18), m. Mr. Collins; 
Maria ; younger Miss Lucases (222) ; a boy (20). 

Lady Metcalfe (165). 

Colonel Millar (229). 

Mr. Morris (3). 

Mrs. NichoUs, housekeeper at Netherfield (55, 331). 

Mr. Phillips, attorney in Meryton ; m. Miss Gardiner (28). 

Miss Pope (165). 

Mr. Pratt, of the shire Militia (221). 

Mrs. Reynolds, housekeeper at Pemberley (248). 

Mr. Robinson (19). 

Sally (292) may be the Sarah of 344. 

Mr. Stone, Mr. Gardiner's clerk ? (319). 

Miss Watson (30). 

the Miss Webbs (164). 

Mr. WICKHAM, steward to old Mr. Darcy (94) ; his son George, 

Lieutenant in the shire Militia (74) ; Cambridge (200) ; 

m, Lydia Bennet. 

Mrs. Younge (202). 



Ashworth, near Longbourn (310) ; Haye-Park, near Long- 
bourn (310) ; Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent (62, 67, 155, 
195) ; Kympton, Derbyshire (328) ; Lambton, Derby- 
shire (240, 265) ; Longbourn, Hertfordshire (12, &c.) ; 
Lucas Lodge, near Longbourn (18) ; Meryton, Hertford- 
shire (18) ; Netherfleld Park, near Meryton (15, 32) ; 
Oakham Mount, near Longbourn (374) ; Pemberley, Derby- 
shire (38, 240-5, 253, 256) ; Purvis Lodge, near Longbourn 
(310) ; Rosings Park, Hunsford (67) ; Stoke, near Long- 
bourn (310) ; , Hertfordshire (219, 222, 315). 

Note. — ^There is no reason to suppose that Longbourn, 

Meryton, and the town of are other than fictitious. 

Longbourn was 24 miles from London (152) and within 
10 miles from the North Road through Barnet and Hatfield 

(274). According as this was West or East, Meryton and 

would correspond, roughly, to Hemel Hempstead and Watford 
or to Ware and Hertford. 








Austen, Jane 


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